Saturday, July 13, 2013
Friday, July 12, 2013
Friday, January 6, 2012
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Her father is depressed.
All he talks about is how depressed he is, when he is not, he is talks about depressing thoughts, depressing affairs, how the world is going down the drains and only dark days await us.
He is probably close to being 80, among the elite group of men that would be viewed as extremely accomplished in terns of social, financial or political status. Yet he is depressed. He is revered and respected by many, he is visited by men of all backgrounds and his important opinion is sought by many. PhD students seek his help with their dissertations and writers ask for his assistance for their papers, yet he is depressed. He can afford medicine, a driver and a cook, lives in a large house and can travel, yet he is depressed.
He sits with his deceased wife's picture, most probably enlarged and framed, and speaks to her. Everyday he tells her how sorry he is that he did not spend as much time with her as he should have. He apologizes for not traveling enough with her, and asks forgiveness for not doing more things together, for not showing more love, for not lending a hand when he could have. They wanted to retire together and do so many things, so many plans were set for that time that seemed so distant in the future, only that time never came, her itinerary did not permit. Her trip in this lifetime was to leave earlier than retirement, their schedules in this lifetime were not synchronized and he was left with only his plans.
Apparently in life we cannot synchronize schedules and prepare for future events when the other party is a loved one, apparently the only way is to set time for them now while their schedule still permits.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
She comes up with pearls of wisdom every now and then. I hope she is reading to know how much I appreciate those moments we have. she said something I really liked, maybe because of it’s relevance at the moment. So here it goes and I quote
“ Insignificant people in insignificant places have illusions of significance”
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
I am afraid.
Afraid of a million and one things. Are they important? Are they real? It does not really matter, I am simply afraid of them and that sentiment alone can make them as real as that pain in my neck and shoulder that does not seem to want to go away.
I speak to a friend, hoping i would find the answer to some of the eternal issues bothering me and find out that he has his own little collection of fears, I speak to another friend and she has her own set of very plausible and “real” fears. I speak to my mother, sister, brother, for god’s sakes the trash collector (actually he might have the least amount of fears) and they all have their own fears, phobias anxieties, you name it. It is as if everyone goes shopping at the same “Fears & Phobias For Less”, and are even served by a very good sales person.
What is it ? Do we come to this world with those sentiments built in? Is this life and how it should be ?
I refuse to believe that. Fears or not, I refuse to sit and live with them, they have to be murdered. I keep asking myself, how many of these fears actually materialized ? “Almost none” the answer comes back, then why in the world are they so persistent? Why do some people seem so fear free.
Aha, but they are not, they appear as if they are, but in reality no one has been able to rid themselves of this ailment. So that is the trick then, to APPEAR as if we are operating out of happiness, out of the no fear zone.
All the self help books in the world tell you to operate with positive attitude, love, gratitude and happiness. To let go and have hopes rather than fears. And, I agree, 100%, the problem is to muster all these great feelings and to conjure all those positive vibes when you are deep in the pit. The trick is to APPEAR, that way you trick your mind into it, do it enough times and the silly machine stops knowing the difference and it becomes your default state.
Do I sound sarcastic? Actually for a change I am not, because I have tried it and it works. I remind myself of this fact daily, well, when I remember to remember that is !
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Self help books that is (hoping you have read the previous post).
I have to admit that I have always wondered about the name of that section of books.
Self Help, hmmm….
If I have the ability to “SELF HELP” would a recipe book be enough to do the trick? Not for me maybe. You see, when I am in dire need of “HELP” I would not want to do it my“SELF”, even if I had the tools, very much like that stupid flat tire. Be it rain or snow I would stand stranded for an hour waiting for a lift rather than dig out all the garbage in the trunk and spend the next 4 hours figuring out how everything fits. So the same way there are cabs to give me a lift, a mechanic (or whatever the job title of a flat tire changer is) to change the tire, I would want someone other than my“SELF” to do the “HELP”. Wouldn’t it be enough that I already need “HELP” ? I still have to yet “HELP” my“SELF” to get out of whatever it is that caused me to be in need of “HELP” ?
After proof reading the above I think I need HELP, and no “ ” this time.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
“We don't do anything unusual” she declared.
So, I asked “What is unusual?”
“Like going to a bookshop together”
Now, I am outspoken, especially with her, I really do not watch what I have to say to her, that kind of a comfortable relationship, but I really had to bite my tongue so not to say “and going to a bookshop is your idea of unusual?????”
So I went along and took her to the “unusual” bookshop, and as with all of us readers we immediately go to the section that interests us the most. A bit later I happened to be walking around and lo and behold where was she? At the, all too famous nowadays, self help section. Not that I don't have my fair share of these books, but i have been trying to stay away from them lately. So we stood there chatting and me reading to her what a numerology book says about her character, and suddenly she turns to me and says:
“ You know it is sad that we do read these books but we never really do what they say we should do” so I turned to her and said “No my dear, what is really sad is the fact the we are actually standing in front of this rack”
Monday, March 7, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
It was very late at night. I was alone watching a movie on TV and wanted to raise the volume a bit and discovered that the remote control was lying down in its quarters at its home, on the table, precisely where it always likes to sit. Reluctantly I went to get it, not because I am lazy but because there is always that feeling of “may I touch the remote control please?”
I got it, it sat on my lap but I could not shake that feeling of discomfort, that feeling that I am doing something I should not do, and using something that is not rightfully and legally mine. I even felt a bit of animosity from the thing towards me, you know a foreign hand touching it and pushing it’s buttons. I could almost hear it saying “stop touching me there”
And that my dear readers, if any, is the silly case of the remote control. Not a biggie even I would tell myself, only it is.
It is a big thing when you are 40 something and conditioned to exist in a room only as a visitor where the controls are in the hands of someone else. You see, we have this -------- (fill in the blank) custom in the Middle East whereby if you are single most probably you are living with your parents at home. I know maybe if I do have an American or European reader they would laugh, but sorry this is the case. You have the odd him & her that have decided to break out of this (--------) norm/custom and live alone, but mostly people will be living in their parent’s house abiding to most house rules and regulations and not having a place that they could call home, a place that they could identify with and that identifies them. A place where they are free to sit naked if they wish to do so and have total freedom to use the remote control at a whim.
The problem that I believe is bigger than the syndrome is that codependency emerges and becomes the reason why both sides put up with each other, each getting fringe benefits from a relationship that is continuously and progressively becoming strained and unpleasant. The parents have someone to keep them company and take care of the evolving needs and phobias of older age, and the children get all the freebies that come with the territory, laundry, food, cleaning sometimes even money etc…
But I have also watched people that made that historic decision and moved out evolve and become better people with even better relationships with their parents and siblings that stayed on at home. It has to be the case, can you imagine a bunch of 30, 40 and 60 something year olds living together, each with his/her preset ways, minds and needs and all having to compromise, with the compromises becoming bigger, and deeper with each passing day until they feel that they do not even know who they are anymore, and all of this under “this is the way it should be” slogan.
“Why would you want to move out if you are not married?” Parents ask in this part of the world. I keep telling parents including mine that perhaps there is this innate need in all of us for some privacy and some personal physical space?
Aha, the magic words, privacy, personal space, AKA sex.
Would any parent (who is not in a total state of delusion or denial) believe for a minute that their dearly beloved child still living with them, well into his/her 30’s or 40’s is waiting to move out or get married to have any form of sexual experience? Is not having your own apartment your excuse for being a virgin or is it some other problem? Would living at home make me more of a “pure” person practicing abstinence? Would living at home make me less of a candidate to be the subject of social scrutiny?
Living alone and social scrutiny, are they connected? Not sure but definitely the subject of another post.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Humans should come equipped with one or more of the following:
1- An on/off button since obviously sleep is not doing the trick.
2- A brain mute button, for those times when it has a character of it’s own and would not shut up.
3- A forward and rewind button, for those times when wanting to remember something or see what is going to happen is of utmost importance.
4- A pause button, for those times when the off button is not the needed one.
If it is to be believed that we do evolve and change according to our surroundings and environment, I wonder when will the universe feel the need to have such buttons?? If our gills disappeared a zillion years ago because we stopped needing them, why didn’t these buttons grow somewhere on our heads since obviously there is an urgent need for them and there has been for quite some time now.
At least on this head !! No pun intended
Monday, November 22, 2010
I like to believe that everyday I receive a message from the universe. How important, life changing or profound the message is, is irrelevant, I just look for the message sometimes received in the most subtle of forms. Today I watched a rerun of Oprah interviewing jk rowlings, the amazing woman behind Harry Potter, and that was my message for the day.
I thought to myself if you combine both women probably would have the richest person on earth, yet these two women still have their fears and worried and funny enough one of their fears was about money. It still takes them a while to remember that they do not have to make a decision about which item to buy because they can have all the items they want. It still takes them a while to remember that they do not have to think about money for the rest of their lives. But that was just an observation it was not the message. In her address to Harvard graduates, Rowlings said, that having her worst fear materialize set her free, and I pondered that statement. It is so true, it does. I always thought this is a statement that authors of self help books like to use, but I know it first hand, I have felt it and I thought about it so many times. When I faced my own biggest fear and demon I felt liberated I felt that nothing can touch me anymore.
Just a note, I was, indeed, liberated for a while, but time only managed to show me that we keep creating new demons all the time, each period has it’s own ugly demon and apparently to survive happily we have to keep the knife that slays these demons out, ready, and quite sharp too. Apparently it is not only one demon that is born with us in this life, they are many that we breed and nurture only to have this ongoing fatal battle with them once they are grown ups.
So one demon down, a few more to go.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
What happens when we read something by a famous author? What happens when we listen to music by a famous musician? What happens when we look at a painting by a famous artist. Do we read, listen and look in a different way?
I was listening to a musical written by a famous composer, I mean Mega fame not the normal fame, an icon so to speak. I love the work of this person, I am an enthusiast and a vehement follower of his fifty or so years of work. But this particular musical did not do it for me. I was trying hard to find fault in myself, I thought to myself maybe I was listening at the wrong time, maybe I was not good enough, musically, to get it, maybe I need to listen more and give it time to digest it. But all failed. After days of giving the benefit of the doubt I discovered that it is basically a regurgitated version of previous works, a salad of pieces from many different musicals he has done in the past and whatever new ingredients he used were lame. I was also listening to a song by an even more famous singer and wondering if a young emerging artist performed this song what would the reaction be? Would we skin them alive for such mundane lyrics or would we give them a chance?
It is funny how when someone really famous does something below the level of excellence and perfection we call it experimenting or a new direction. We give them all sorts of excuses, maybe they are older and wiser and know better and it must be us that are not up to the challenge of understanding. Would the same abstract painting be given the same respect if the name on it was unknown? Would we treat the same music with reverence if the artist was an obscure name trying to break into the circle of “names”? Would we give importance to the same design if the name was different? Or do we call silly art, abstraction, and bad design a new trend and uninventive silly music experimentations towards a dialogue with the soul etc….
How far would we go with the philosophical labels?
Maybe the approval of the masses and the hype of the media to any particular person does affect us and our impressions become jaded. We lead ourselves to believe that our conviction about a person is ours and not imposed and we even start to dictate to our senses what they should be doing all alone.
Just an example, how would you be reading this blog if I was X?
Monday, September 20, 2010
He says right you say left, he says up you say down, red, blue, black, white. What is it with our egos. You have a big ego you are judged and given multiple adjectives, you don't have one you are labeled as a door mat. So how in the world do we act?
Why is it that our first impulse is to jump at someone that thinks differently. Why do we take it as our job to discredit them and try to enforce our own opinion and emerge as the winner of the great title of Mr. Know It All.
I tend to be a person that listens, a lot, I do have my own firm opinions concerning a few topics, but that is about it, only a few. Generally I listen, discuss, if interested I might research more. I have also learned to allow my self the freedom of changing my mind to the opposite side of the spectrum in the light of new information. That could lead to views that I am someone with no firm standing, but so what. Years ago I was labeled as an opinionated person, I used to have strong opinions about most things in life, but that mostly came out of ignorance. A few close people whom I love and respect pointed it out and I decided to take a deeper look at myself and tone down what they saw as rigid judgments. And you know what they were right, so I trained myself to listen more and pay more attention and I discovered a world that was magnificent, a world I would have never known had I remained a Mr. Know It All.
Our egos, whatever the definition of an ego is, do get in the way and sometimes trample our thinking. I think once we get over our primal instinct, to win, we would discover a world previously unknown to us, a world so rich and fun that has no need to emerge as the winners of anything except knowing more and knowing deeper.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I started this blog and decided on the name on a day when I thought it was up to me to happytize or unhappytize life. I thought I would grow in the process. You know, when you write something down it becomes clearer, you put your thoughts down on paper (or screen in this case) and suddenly you start to see things in a different light, especially when there is the possibility that someone might actually read them, and this is not exactly the most secretive place to hide a diary. So out of fear of being ridiculed you try to think in a clearer manner and be more objective, kind of a 3rd person way of thinking. So I thought I would become my own third voice. 3rd? God knows there are many more yapping around in my head most of the time just one voice short of being diagnosed with multiple personality disorder.
Yes, I do have all these voices, but not in a bad way at all. I think we all do except we either ignore them or try to appear as if we are so centered that we have only one, sometimes we even lie about having all these voices so as to preserve our image from being tarnished by others trying desperately to muffle their own voices within. I do believe we all have so many voices and the variety depends on how many people we want to impress, how many we want to guide, how many we want to rule, lead, follow, love, hate etc.. I believe we are made up of a collection of characters and voices that do not always coexist happily, hence our ability to happytize or unhappytize our lives. Apparently it all depends on which voice is in command and doing all the talking or what the voices are saying to each other in any moment. If you are blessed they are all singing a beautiful accapella and that is when we feel happier.
Anyway, back to the point, I thought this blog would help me articulate and organize my thoughts. It did not. In fact it only made me question more. A friend always comments on how I always ask questions when I write, which I did not notice until he pointed it out. Maybe to me that was the natural way of how things should be, to always question and to always have several answers that you can discuss with yourself or others. Nothing is finite and no answer is absolute, everything can be viewed in a million different lights.
Maybe the minute we start taking things as is, when we start to believe that there is just one answer for things is the minute we close our minds off and hang that “be right back” sign on our horizons. It would be a pity, so I will take my chances of being viewed by whomever as someone without a stand for the sake of being able (or hoping) to know more. Maybe with knowledge comes more understanding and then with more understanding more compassion and after that less analysis that might open the door for more happiness.
Monday, September 13, 2010
The house was built in the 50’s, not exactly a mansion but a grand house by the standards of the times. The area was quite empty then with only a few houses built, it aspired to be the new elite area of the city. Even I remember when I could see all the way to the outskirts of down town. Over the years the aspirations of the area were never met and it developed into this middle class area with a mixture of the grand houses built at the beginnings and the later not so grand houses built to accommodate the middle income families that moved in. In recent years it has been slapped in the face with ugliness and haphazard building and silly arrangements of shops that sell nothing anyone wants.
Grand or not, it was my favourite area. It was were I formed my most beautiful memories. The memories that I recall when I want to open that valve to let happiness pour in. Last night I went there, alone. I walked all the way to my grandparents’ house and took that road that opened up all the vaults in my memory banks. The strange thing was that I did not see those memories in my mind’s eye, I was almost literally transported there. I stood in front of the house, a silly looking school now, and I heard grand dad calling for his tea, and I could smell the Jasmine tree that is no longer there and I could almost touch the grapes that swayed and shone above us like beautiful chandeliers.
It would be 3 in the afternoon, my grandparents would retire to their bedroom for their afternoon siesta and I would take the money that my grandmother gave me, the equivalent of $1.5 (which made me rich) and start my walk to the bookstore. It would be hot in those summer afternoons and I would walk under the big shady trees whenever possible, feeling the singe of the sun whenever I walked into it’s pools shining in between. There was a distinct smell for summer, or perhaps it was my young nose starting to form it’s own memories of smells and scents. Along the way I would see the same people I always saw on these bookstore treks. The woman that watered her plants, the young man washing his car, the older man in his tank top and pajama bottoms reading the news paper with his Turkish coffee cup placed on the ledge of the front porch. All the porches at the top of the front stairs looked the same with the same plants grown in the same pots and some in olive oil tin cans. Finally I would reach my destination and there I would feel that the whole world opened up for me and gave me a big hug. It is the end of the week when the store received all the new issues of Batman, Lulu, Superman and Mickey Mouse comics. There was also the monthly issue of the five adventurers (any Middle Eastern readers of the same age group should know them) and if that was the weekend when all came together then jackpot!
I would pay the owner of the book store hurriedly unable to contain my excitement a minute longer. The back trip would take much faster, I would want to run back to my room at my grandparents and get into that mental frenzy of not knowing what to start with. Not knowing which comic to start reading I would read the first page of each one. The room with it’s high ceilings and windows shaded by huge bougainvilleas would be cool, the linen bedspread felt cool to the touch and I would spread my comics all over it relishing the feel of it and relishing my coming few hours of utter bliss. You see, there, in those hours I was the only one in the world, I had everything I needed, I was alone since my siblings would be at home, so no interruptions, I was the only child, the spoiled one, I was King of the world. I would start to read, and very slowly. I wanted to keep the moment, I wanted to taste it and experience it to it’s fullest.
Maybe that is why I still cherish reading, maybe that is why when it is close to bedtime I start to feel happiness washing all over my soul in anticipation of the coming hour or so of being in bed with a good book, it never failed to make me feel good. Now when I want to feel better I just visualize myself with a book and that takes care of the gloomiest days.
Last night I went to bed but did not read. Last night I could only dream of my grandparents and thank them for giving those moments to forever hold.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
In a movie I watched last night one of the characters said “You have to know others to better know yourself”
That statement caught my attention and made me loose concentration on what came next. Is it true? I always thought it was the other way around, that maybe if/when I know myself better I would tend to understand others better. But my question today is how important is it to know ourselves. We spend a lifetime trying to get to know this weird creature (us) and every time we think we are almost close to making the acquaintance this shadow eludes us. It happened so many times that I almost lost interest in finally meeting the me I am so looking forward to understand. The variables are infinite, the effects of circumstances are immense that i think it is almost impossible for us to be the same person twice.
A friend keeps teasing me about a statement I used to use a lot “I know myself, when X happens I act in this way and when Y happens I act in that way” and you know what, it is so untrue. I don't know myself any better than the next person knows me. If you put all the variables in a scientific equation consisting of circumstances, frame of mind, physical well being, chemistry of the body at a given second, actions and reactions of others, even the temperature outdoors etc etc… I bet you no machine in the world can resolve it.
Have you ever noticed how some people almost never think about this issue, nor are they interested in getting to know themselves better? I think I can easily make the assumption that, in general, they seem to be happier. They take themselves as they are, and they are OK with how they act and react without much analysis or judgment, and they seem happier, even things seem to come to them much easier and in a more pleasant manner than calculating rationalizing individuals. Basically they treat themselves very much the way we keep insisting on others to treat us !!
Maybe we should not really know us.
Monday, August 23, 2010
His only fault was that he liked her, a lot. He expressed it to mutual friends, he slightly hinted to her, actually a bit more than a hint, and a bit louder than his fear of rejection allowed. Still she mocked him. She mocked his looks, she mocked his attitude and she even mocked his body language.
I am not here to be judgmental. I have witnessed many such waltzes being danced in front of me, courtships, flirting and out right proposals but I always left people alone never interfering nor judging their decisions, neither agreeing to nor refusing their rejection of the other.
I have also had my own share of relationships with their silly dramas that get played on that stage along with beautiful love scenes. I admit mine were mostly long term and very few, but in between I had to go through these mating procedures with all the expectations that come with the first date and all the anticipation that precedes the second and all the fears of rejection when that phone does not ring, and the occasional prayers for it never to ring, along with the whole bag of emotions that comes with the whole period. One thing was constant however, deep inside, I was always so very grateful for every person that liked or loved me. I always felt so humbled by their emotions especially when these emotions were not mutual. It takes a big person to express love and not wait for the other to express it first, or to express love and not know whether this huge emotion would be reciprocated.
One thing I give myself the right to judge, I will think a bit less of a person that does not act and react gracefully when someone expresses their love to them.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Maybe a million people have already written or thought of writing about this, but i will take the risk of repeating what has already been said, I have to say it out loud.
I feel awkward at weddings.
Be it a friend’s, a cousin’s, an acquaintance’s they are all the same, that same feeling of looking, acting and behaving in an awkward way. I tried to work on myself not to feel that way, I have even made myself attend weddings when I did not want to, kind of a special training course to overcome my ailment, it also did not work.
Yesterday, in a wedding, a friend asked me if I felt that way. I laughed, it was almost like he was letting me in on a secret, and I thought, yes, another closeted wedding hater. Poor soul needed to know that he is not alone in this world. I thought of asking if he would be interested in forming an association for such people like us who get a rash from just receiving the invitation card. He might not. Will have to find other partners for such a venture. Maybe we will become a recognized minority and ask for our rights, Single Wedding Haters Association, SWHA, maybe? Ok maybe the acronym needs work but it will have to do for now…….I think.
Last night I decided to observe my case and I think I got to know a few things about why the awkwardness. One of them is that constant smile, smirk is more like it, the kind that makes your face hurt. Then comes the pushing yourself to dance when you are not in the mood or when your blood stream is not running with enough alcohol in it, not enough to make a fool out of yourself anyways. You stand there clapping, smiling and trying desperately to paint that I don't give a damn and I am having a good time expression, only to fail miserably and to be spotted by the other single people using the same techniques. You are trying to move with the tunes but you are conscious of every move that is fabricated to look as if you are really having a good time. Then there are the endless waves and HIIIIIIII’s the type accompanied with the biggest smile you can fathom, the smile that seems to stay, the one you notice you still have on 10 minutes later as if you had forgotten to resume normal facial expressions operational mode.
But a little honesty is in order and I have to admit, as much as I dislike all of the above, it is the accompanying loneliness that really bothers me. Weddings are not single friendly, very much like most parties were most of the involved are either couples or couple wanna bes. If you are alone and intend to keep it that way then you are an outcast, unnecessary baggage. You neither fit with the couples, nor benefit the wanna bes, you are in the way of events wasting people’s time by being there. For the couples you can be a threat, people mark their territories to keep you out. I think I caught someone peeing around his wife. For single people you are a waste of time. Imagine someone who is interested in you that spends the evening talking to you hoping it would lead to something only to discover that it wont, then you have wasted, time, good “ulterior motive” conversation, wine and a good dress on what would otherwise be time and assets better invested.
No, being single is not part of being in a wedding, you either belong or you don't, and if you send all the right signals that you are in singledom and plan to remain there people will make sure that you remain there. ALONE.
Pray it is a good buffet.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
You know what? You might very well be the only person that really really matters to you. If you are one of the lucky ones you will have two people that really care about your livelihood, one is you and the other is most probably your mother. I am lucky I have managed to have three but that is the exception.
We live through life creating relationships, friendships, partnerships, love relationships all sorts of “ships”, we work on them we nourish them, we try to take them to the next level, hoping that they will stick through thick and thin, but in many cases unfortunately, when push comes to shove each will have to fend for his own. Sometimes you, other times the other person, but in many cases each will try to look out for him/her self. Sometimes material things become more important than the person, sometimes persons you thought are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things become more important players in a relationship you thought was based around two people.
So what is the conclusion?
I say, be your friend, be the one that makes you happy, be the one that stands by you, be strong for you and take care of you. Love you, because most probably the line of people applying for such positions wont be that long. When you are happy, you will not be caught in the “poor me” drama and that will make you stronger and better capable of taking care of others if that is what you enjoy.
P.S I am not promoting selfishness, not at all, just make whatever makes you happy and then you will be able to play that happy role for others. There is nothing worse than an unhappy person. I made the acquaintance of Mr. Unhappy once and I did not like him, no one does, Mr. Unhappy is feared to be contagious and people don't like vaccines so they stay clear.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
It is so beautiful to sit and reminisce about how it was so bad at one point and then how strange unexpected coincidences changed it all. It is so nice to talk about your story once it is over and all the pain and hardships have disappeared into a happy ending dissolving all the bitterness that years of agony can leave behind, and it is even better to lecture people about how your trip was exactly like theirs but that you persevered and eventually won. If nothing, it definitely is an ego booster.
It is great when you do that armed with the beauty of hindsight, sometimes the screw ups are even downplayed and the mistakes camouflaged. We can even go to lengths trying to make them sound a bit funny, even though they could not have been farther away from even being remotely amusing at the time they happened. But again hindsight gives you this advantage. You can now mock what happened in the past, it no longer has the ability to hurt you.
The trick however is to be IN the situation and be armed with the same persuasion, strength, positive outlook and spirituality that you hold like a winning shining sword high above your head once you have emerged as the winner.
Can you, when in the midst of the darkest deepest hell hole of your life, be positive? Can you, when despair is so thick you can hold it and sometimes even try to choke, be all smiles and happiness? Can you, when you feel that life is like a huge slab of concrete ready to flatten you, be spiritual?
Isn't that why we read all our spiritual books? Isn’t that why “Self Help” sections were invented in bookshops? Isn't that why we watched time and again “The Secret”? Isn’t that why we held on to all the law of attraction books (and other life saving books) we could find like we hold on to dear life? Isn’t that why we struggle to live in the now and discover our new earth? You have the lady that changed everything in 6-8 weeks, yes as if its a delivery date for a product, and the Lawyer that sold his Ferrari to become a monk but made more millions selling his books, and the lady who made a million dollars in one month and got her children back from her ogre of an in-law. Can these stories really happen? When in despair we would like to believe so, when in despair we want anyone to tell us anything that would change the current situation to a better one, hence fortune tellers, tarot card readers and other similar “professions” prosper. That is why many people turn to their respective religious practices trying to hear the voice within that will console them and heal them. We just want that voice regardless to whom it belongs to tell us that it is going to be ok.
And you know what, it will be. Let that voice be yours that tells you it will be ok. Mind you I have not emerged on the other end, yet, still no shining sword held high and no victory tales. But I will be ok, just like you will, just like we all will. Regardless of your convictions, regardless of which school of thought you subscribe to, you will. I know how difficult it is to hold on to the positive thought, believe me they sometimes evade me like that mirage Aladdin saw in the desert, but, I will keep looking for his lamp. I think each one of us has his very own lamp we just have to look for it and keep looking and one day we will find it, we just have to decide how soon we want it, it is all up to us.
However, one wish will not need any lamp, make a wish to love and be loved, that is what matters at the end when this trip is over, this is what makes it worth it. This is the only thing on dark nights that makes me believe that it will be OK.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I stood there watching him and trying to understand how could a body look like that, the position was inhuman in it’s deformity and in my mind’s eye (my curse, believe me, since this mind is very graphic) I tried to figure out where the arms were and where the legs were. And then it became clearer, he was struggling to pull out an arm from under the sheets to scratch his face. I was mesmerized, it was such an arduous affair, it took him a very long time to free his arm from the tangles of the sheets, but then just when I thought it was free and he was ok came the next almost impossible task of finding his face to scratch it. He tried and tried, but his obstinate hand would not succumb, it would not go to his face. I thought of going there and helping him, but to me it felt more like an insult than an act of kindness.
I was frozen. I could not look away and did not want to be caught staring. He would definitely not catch me looking since he was so busy with his affairs of face scratching, but I did not want the nurses to see. My mind was racing with thoughts trying to understand what it would feel like when such an act that we unconsciously perform becomes the task of the day. What would it feel like when all the day comprises of is a face scratch, a yawn and maybe a shifting of the leg for 2 inches and you would be done for the day, your task list will be all checked and clear and ready to face another day of such monstrous duties.
There and then I decided to write a will that if and when it ever gets to this someone that dearly loves me will need to shut down that damn machine and out of love too. Lawful, unlawful I do not care, I do not want to be there. It is not dignified, it is not the way it should be.
My eyes started to swell with tears and then I heard my friend say lets go. His dad passed away a few minutes ago. Later looking at the dead body of my friend’s father, I wondered if he knew how lucky he was, he was definitely in a better state.
Be happy you can scratch your face.
Monday, August 2, 2010
In the New York Times Peggy Orenstein Wrote “I Tweet, Therefore I Am”. The strange part was that I used the exact same statement a few days prior to reading it while discussing social media with friends.
Yes we have this other person that tweets and facebooks (If this was not a word now it is). Is it us? Or is it whom we would like to be, or is it even whom we do not want to be? Yes some people do want to show the world a different persona. Now, you can choose the character you want to publicly display you are your own media consultant. Even parts of you can have their own character now, your behind even gets to Facebook, yes, try having your Blackberry in your back pocket unlocked.
I admit I do not have a personal twitter or Facebook account, I have not bloomed yet. I know how they work though and I get to know what people are up to through my work's accounts and I really think that most people are not whom they claim to be. These are just the new tools that we use to be accepted, the new tools we use to belong, it is high school all over again only this time high school has no age limit.
You have the popular athlete and the oh-so-pretty cheer leader and you are most probably the acne infested nerd trying to find a place for yourself among them. If you are not too confident about your looks (page in this case) you try very hard to appeal through the copy paste quotes you find through Google, or the very deep and profound statements that you spend hours articulating, some even try humor (the class joker) and others try promiscuity (The school slut). At the end of the day it is how many followers you have, how many friends are on your list and how many retweets you get that determine whether or not you will be invited to prom night. The more friends the merrier, even if you don't know half of them, nor care for that matter to either know them or know about them. It is all about quantity. The thing is, the bigger the audience the more we care about what we sound like and how they will all perceive us. Each one is trying to manipulate their image and how they are perceived. Another marketplace where we need to market ourselves only here we are hidden behind our screens and our words, hidden behind the luxury of the delay time we have to choose our words and polish our thoughts. Here there is no fear of the sudden burst of words that we cannot take back, have a faux pas and the remove button is there to aid you re-polish your manipulated image.
I don't know if i will ever have an account on any social media service, it is too much work for me it is just another hurdle along the way of getting to know ourselves that will only beguile us and misguide us into thinking we do know when we really should be looking within.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Ramadan is almost here, a couple of weeks away.
Another year has passed.
I do remember when Ramadan used to fall in the summer time. I am now experiencing Ramadan in the summer time again. The first time was 30 years ago. Back then, me and my sister wanted to experiment with fasting, we wanted to be like adults. We wanted to be praised because we did the impossible and fasted for more than 10 hours. My father would come from work at 2 pm and after his siesta would sit with us and we would play cards and backgammon thinking that by entertaining us time would go faster, if we only knew then how fast time really goes by, all by itself without any aid from anyone, faster than we would ever want it to, too fast for any kind of comfort.
Once my mother told us that the next time Ramadan would fall in the same month it will be more than 30 years from that date and I remember me and sister sitting during the long long hours of the fasting day and daydreaming about what it would be like in 30 years, what would we be doing, where would we be living, what would we look like. We thought that when we are in our 40’s we would have achieved all our dreams and totally happy, in full control of our lives, and we could stay up all night and no one would dream of telling us to go to bed, isn’t that an achievement all by itself? We would have our own money and we could buy anything we wanted, mainly ice cream and chocolate were on the menu at that time. No one would tell us that they would ruin our teeth, “enough sugar for today” was not really in back then, we would sleep all we wanted and never have to go to school again. Those were our biggest goals of the time, little did we know that in our 40’s staying up all night would be the last thing we wanted to do, and when we did it, it was not always for fun reasons (worry was not on the agenda then), buying whatever we wanted would not always be an option, and ice cream and chocolate would loose their incredible appeal, sleep would still be a rare commodity, however, getting up for school would eventually seem like a nice thing to do compared to the days we never thought we would have to face, and school would become a distant fun memory, yes fun, who would have known.
Do I miss 30 years ago, damn right I do, do I sound unhappy writing this, maybe I do, but it is not unhappiness that I feel, it is just my contemplation about what we thought would happen and what really did happen. Is it better or worse? I don’t really care to compare, it is just different. I don’t know if what we visualized in our little minds was the right thing to dream about in the first place, after all, at that age we were not exactly well versed in the art of living, but those dreams at that tender innocent age had their charm and appeal. They had a kind of dreamy unrealistic fairy tale”ish” thing to them that is sad to think you did not achieve. They were never logical, rational, nor achievable, maybe that is why they sounded so good, enough to make you sit and reminisce about them.
Are we happier than we thought we would be? Are we less happy than we thought we would be? I don’t know it depends on the day I guess, but we are what we are. We have crafted our lives that we are living by choices that those kids started making 30 years ago and continued to make along the way. And yes in so many ways we are happy, we have to be happy because happiness is another choice that we make, or rather, have to make otherwise we will sit and feel sad that 30 years have passed, we have to choose to be happy, to able to enjoy the memories of those 30 years and create ones for the next 30 years.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
They came in their nicely pressed navy blue suits.
The same familiar handshake
The same smile
The same laugh, hehehe, yes always three hehehe’s, not more, and with the exact very well rehearsed way. Not laughing out loud, God forbid, but not too too formal either, just enough to be friendly without being too close. That laugh is always followed by A***ole in my mind.
Within seconds all the credentials were laid down on the table. The original country of birth, not totally local, no no no, a foreign background is there somewhere, some foreign blood runs in the veins, which gives superiority and more credibility. Foreign education is also on the CV, but of course, how could we even think otherwise. After dropping a few names, very appropriately chosen and a few quite expensive hobbies later, a thoroughbred pen was pulled out of the jacket pocket along with a paper pad that lives in a quite expensive Mont Blanc home, business commenced, but not before perceived social class was determined, rules of conduct were laid down and the SOP’s were set.
Why do we feel uncomfortable without all of the above, why do some people feel that they need this mating dance before they start talking about what they really need to talk about? Why do they need to give credibility to themselves through the use of every element except those which truly are crucial and detrimental to the situation.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Noise, noise, noise.
Everybody knows better, everybody knows exactly what needs to be done, everybody knows exactly what needs to be said.
They all know better.
And, you have to sit there and listen, nod, approve, smile, shake your head, up and down at certain statements, left and right at others. Use “Aha” when appropriate, and breath a hearty “hmmm” where you should. But, that is not really enough, you have to say an outright “Yes, YES, you are right”, and all of that because you dared show people that you are low, that you are a bit confused, that you need guidance.
Yes, guidance, ask for it, even in passing and the silliest person you know can suddenly transform into a Guru, a beacon of knowledge, and a treasury of solutions. Sometimes I wonder, is that why we like people in distress? Is that why we like to hear about them, know their problems, delve into details of what went wrong in their lives. Does that make us feel superior? Does the mere fact that we are divulging precious gems of advise put us on a virtual pedestal that only exists in our minds? Why do they feel compelled to be so knowledgeable when what was really needed in the first place was a simple pat on the back, a simple “don’t worry all will be well”, a little silence until you finish stating whatever it is that is bothering you and that’s that. that is all what you really needed, to speak out load to a human rather than your own mind.
Thank you very much, I will retreat to myself.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I love you more today, if possible.
Yes, I do love you more. Now I know why my love for you is so profound, I just discovered why, do you want to know why? Is it even important? To me it is.
It’s so simple; I know myself better when I am with you, when I talk to you I understand myself better. I get a glimpse of my inner most self when I discuss me with you, a part that rarely reveals itself, I guess that part feels more comfortable with you than with me. When we are together I feel that I have gone deeper into myself and discovered this person that sometimes is foreign to me. This is why. This is the inexplicable explained.
Did I need an explanation? I don’t know, maybe not. Your love has become a fact of life that does not need to be rationalized nor explained, it is my gravity, it keeps me grounded, but sometimes I cannot help it, it just feels better when you understand why things happen. You know me, I can’t take things for granted I can’t take things as is, I have to understand why and how they happen. I am not as spontaneous as you are. But, now that I know how I love you, I know what people mean when they say “your other half”. Once I made fun of such a notion, but I stand to be corrected. Maybe people use the word half for lack of a better word, maybe they mean the other self rather than other half. Now I know that there is such a thing as your other self, the self that comes together with your self and helps it make sense of this world, make sense of your self. With this other self you get to have acute senses things come more into focus and you get to solve the puzzle much faster and easier. The puzzle of being.
I do love you more today if possible.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Yes, finally. A late bloomer, yes, but now I Skype with the one and solitary friend that my Skype account was created for.
She lives abroad and she insisted on me creating this account so that we can talk longer and more often, so I did. I have a NEED to speak to her. She is the one that feeds my soul when it is hungry as I always tell her.
After reading my post, Stupid Cemetery this is what she said :
“so you have liberated yourself of one social boundary that normally suffocate us with guilt and fear
the next big step is how to liberate ourselves from the fear of the living not just the dead
or rather fear of living and not fear of death
don't you think it is strange that we fear to live as we worry and fear death”
Isn’t that so true.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Some people are all mouth and no trousers. All bark, no bite. All promise, no delivery. Others, are the other way round. All substance, no style. All wisdom, no wit. All sincerity, no charm. As with people, so with situations. We should always be very careful before we make a superficial judgment.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
It’s been five years.
I have visited the cemetery a very few times. Very few.
At first I guess I was afraid of the sorrow that might overwhelm my soul, then it was apprehension, then it was denial and now I have no idea what it is. I just do not visit as much as I thought I would if and when such an eventuality occurred.
A few days ago I did. I just found myself there.
In good Middle Eastern graveyard tradition, there are always little boys begging, taking advantage of your sorrow, thinking that maybe you would give money away if they said some nice things about the deceased, the same things they say to everyone that is caught in a moment of grieving. Not me however, I would not fall into that trap, the boy will not catch me in my low moment, as low as it is, it will not be there broadcast for public viewing.
We exchanged angry looks, from my side at least, me trying to show him through eye contact that I am angry (low, depressed and about to collapse inside) but angry and strong on the outside, you know, a silly self defense mechanism that maybe even the little boy could easily uncover. He, on the other hand tried to look sad and poor and needy. Both our techniques did not work, I did not feel sad for him, nor did he respect my sorrow or feel threatened by my anger. I thought to myself if this did not work maybe shouting would, so I shouted. Told him to run away and respect my moment of grief, my moment of trying to “connect” with my loved one lying there. Of course he has heard this a million and one times and it really had no effect on him, to him shouting maybe translates to “beg more maybe you will get me exasperated enough to give you money to get rid of you”. Maybe if I spoke beggar I would have known that this is asking for more of what I don’t want. So being the nice person I am, especially in such low levels of depression unknown to me prior to that day, I looked around and located my nearest weapon, the biggest stone I could find, and believe me there are many in this cemetery. I held it, raised my hand with a gesture of pure animosity and prepared to throw. He moved back, did not run as expected, but merely moved back, as if getting himself out of range. Maybe he saw how weak I was and that I would only manage a meter or two of trajectory force.
He chose a nearby grave and went to sit on it, as if it is his living room sofa. I turned back to face the grave but could still see him out of the corner of my eye. I hated him, he was ruining my experience, whatever that experience was supposed to be. He was killing the moment that I thought I would be having when I found myself driving there, whatever that moment was supposed to be. I tried to concentrate to dismiss him out of my mind, I could not and I suddenly turned to him and said, “you know, you could wait until you lie next to these guys here and you wont see a penny from me”, the moment the words left my mouth I felt how lame they sounded. Bad, very bad script writing. As if by magic my lame statement got him moving, he started walking away but not without mumbling something along the way.
Now, I turned back towards the grave and looked and said “now” with a little smile, “now we are all by ourselves” just like two lovers whom almost had their romantic moment killed we were all alone now. So I looked at the grave, and waited for that feeling to come. Of course not knowing what you should feel makes it a bit tough, but I knew I should feel something. Don’t they in movies always go to cemeteries, have a great shot of them crying, talking about their lives and what happened to them and how they are getting along and then they have this great “aha” moment when everything is crystal clear and they have all the solutions for all their problems? Where is that God damn moment? We were alone, no begging boy, no one in sight, all alone me and dad, so where is that moment of clairvoyance I was waiting for? I smiled; the way we used to smile when something silly happened in front of us and only we both got it, and told him:
“You know, this is not working, I talk to you better at home, late at night when you normally come and visit. Now I understand why you hated cemeteries, they are merely a resting place just as they are called, nothing more, nothing less, a body warehouse so to speak, you are not here, nothing is here, even your name on the tombstone is not the reference to you anymore, your name stopped being a reference to you the moment you moved on, now you are just you, now you do not need silly labels like names, now you are you, just you, the pure essence we are meant to be, no restraining names, no crippling bodies, no choking voices, just you, and this is whom I now know. When you come to see me at home I know you the way I never did before, I feel you the way I never felt you before, I love you like I never did before.”
You hated cemeteries? You were right, now I know why, they are meaningless places. I don’t think I will visit you again the way people think they are supposed to visit, I will let you visit me the way you should visit, the real true visit, deep in my heart and soul.”
I love you
Good Bye stupid cemetery.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I thought I had an answer, but I don't, so do not expect one.
A lot has been said about why we do, starting with professional marketing people ending with stay at home mothers that do blog. I guess we all have an innate need to talk, communicate and vent out our frustrations, gloat about our victories and seek the consolation of others who might be in the same boat. We blog hoping to find a person that would sympathize and either find therapy in what we say, or offer it because of what we say.
I started this blog wanting it to be incognito, and aiming to keep it that way, but discovered that it is lonely to write to yourself, isn't it enough that we talk to ourselves all day long? It becomes a bit like keeping a diary and I am not a diary person, at all. I do need to share, but what I need more is feedback and discussion. I discovered that the aftermath of a story is much more interesting sometimes than the story itself.
So maybe I want to be a better blogger over here and visit more blogs and comment and make my voice louder and better heard. I started by telling a few trusted friends about this link, still fearing that they might ridicule what I say. But, so what, even if they do, it will not change the fact that I am still here and talking, maybe to myself for the time being but still talking.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
He said he was very hurt. He gave so much and loved even more and was there to support, to console and to lend a hand, which sometimes even contained some cash, but people almost never returned the favor when he was on the other side of the fence. I told him it’s ok I felt the same, but I am in rehab hoping to change. I wanted to change in a way were I would not become a coldhearted S.O.B, but a loving S.O.B if there is one. His face showed that he was not entirely clear on what I was saying.
Ok, I explained lovingly, let me elaborate. You can still lend a hand regardless of the filling, and be there and be good and kind, but do it with love and with absolutely no expectations what so ever, only then would you be the person you think you are. With the fear of appearing like a motivational speaker, which I am not, I explained that I believed that perhaps beneath each one of us (the grand givers we perceive ourselves to be) there is this giant pleaser that wants recognition, and needs to be thanked and loved for what he does, or perhaps even worse there is this big control freak that seeks control and a need to emerge as the super hero. If we get the reactions we want, then the beneficiaries of our gallant gestures are great wonderful people, if not then the receivers are selfish bastards.
I discovered that it does not work that way. You either give unconditionally or you end up hurting yourself and others when you expect them to be like you in your time of need. I stopped expecting that a long time ago (lets say a few months ago, but it sounds more mature when you say a long time ago) I stopped expecting people to be my clones and act exactly how I want them to act. There might be a possibility that they can show their own love in different ways, maybe even more profound love, better in many ways than mine, if only I give them a chance. If they do not, then I should be resigned to the idea that this is my lesson to learn to become an unconditional giver, full stop.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Fears, phobias, anxieties, how do we develop them? How do we grow older holding on to them, nurturing them? When is the seed planted and who plants it?
I thought I was over my fears and phobias a long time ago, years and years passed without feeling the tiniest hint that they might be still there lurking in the darkest depths of my mind waiting for the right moment to sprint. Once they do they are like a spoiled brat on a sugar over dose, there is no shutting them up.
I guess the only time for me (and maybe for most people) to be rid of these ailments was during my thirties, before that, in our twenties, we have our fears of the future and what it may hold, and in our forties, we again have our fears of the future and what it may hold, only this time around they are fortified with ammunition collected in the previous two decades (aka, baggage), and made more logical and rational with wisdom and solidified with acquired knowledge of what might go wrong. They are intensified because of a new fear element that adds insult to injury, time, it starts to run out, we now fear we are on count down.
Ah how much I miss stupidity of young age and the freedom of ignorance. How I miss the beauty of not knowing and the anticipation of expecting only the best, not because I was an optimist, but because I was not formally introduced to pessimism.
How is this Happytizing Life, it’s not, but maybe when we know our disease we might be able to find the cure?
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Some people wonder who they may have been - or what they may have done in a previous incarnation. I am often asked if I can use astrology to reveal a past life. I always suggest that it might be more useful to look at who we could yet manage to become in this life. Even if you were once a pharaoh or a famous figure, you won't be any happier or more fulfilled for knowing this. You need, surely, to know who you are now... and to understand who (or what) you may be able to evolve into.
Jonathan Cainer, Astrologer.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy
Douglas Adams from "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy