Homeward Oblivion

Recently, I took a week-long trip to my hometown of eighteen years after a three-year hiatus in South Carolina, where I currently live. The only words I can use to describe the situation are enlightening, depressing, and underwhelming. When you live somewhere for a significant portion of your life, move away, and then go back, you will most likely be disappointed, depending on where this location is. The place where I made so many fond memories was no longer my base, and therefore no longer felt like home. It was an almost alien feeling, as if I had fallen into a parallel universe where people no longer work towards any goal, any ideal, and just sort of stagnate at the same level of awareness and maturity for many, many years until the inevitable happens.

I stayed with my good childhood friend who, to my surprise, rejected a full scholarship to a university of his choice to work in a nursing home stocking food and other items. He lives in the apartment above his father’s which does not have a shower, a washer/dryer (neither does his father), air conditioning, carpeting, real furniture, anywhere comfortable to sit, etc., etc. The one thing I really missed the most was the central air conditioning, something we take for granted in South Carolina. In Myrtle Beach, everything is new, everything is appeasing to the eye. In Rhode Island, everything is old, nothing looks nice, it is all one disappointment after another. At least in the city in which I stayed. To be honest, I never really cared for that city, but it was my home. Maybe my memories of that place were exaggerated to make it seem like it was a great venue.

For the second half of the trip, I just kept saying to myself, “It will be over soon. It will be over soon.” My friend has lost his path, and the sad thing is, he cannot even have a meaningful conversation. Every time I tried to discuss things like purpose or what he was going to do with his life, he would shrug it off like the plague, and he could not be serious. I’ve worked on myself for the past two to three years and going back there and seeing someone who had not matured or raised his awareness one centimeter really saddened me, but at this point, I do not know how to help him because he has not indicated he wants or needs help in getting his life in order. It could be his context about reality that is holding him back. I don’t know, but all I can really say is I hopefully will never go back to that city because, honestly, there is not much there for me.

I remember reading a short story about this guy who grew up in the South Boston housing projects and witnessed four or five of his brothers’ deaths while he was growing up, moved away, and was so anxious to come back because even though it was a terrible place, it was his home. I canot say, for one moment, that I feel the same way. When I was in it, when it was my reality, it was acceptable because it had to be. Now that I am in a much nicer, more comfortable area, I can finally see my old hometown the way an outsider would see it, and now I can move on to bigger and better things. Now that I am back home and in the environment where growth is abundant.

I don’t mean to come down on my hometown, but now that I went back, I can see why people are depressed. I can see why some situations can cause problems and I feel for those who are trapped in a similar situation because I felt trapped up there in Rhode Island, away from my normal life, away from all the things I hold dear to myself, especially my family. I wish I had a way to get through to my friend that living in what I called “a third-world country” in a terrible city is not the best life he could hope for, but as long as he remains to look content with his surroundings, in his average, meaningless life, where he looks out only for short-term graatification and never looks for the future, I have to bite my tongue and let him go.

That is all for now. Stay tuned for uplfting posts as I get myself back to peace and away from depression.

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Variety is the Spice of Life

I’m sure we all hear that saying enough, but how many of us actually pursue variety in lieu of repetition? For many people in today’s world, repeition is the spice of life. They get up every day, go to the same job, go home, and it works the same way, every day, like clockwork. This is the way most people I’ve seen live. Very scarcely do they mix it up and do something totally spontaneous. People get set in their ways and just do what feels comfortable for five, ten, twenty years before they realize that it is not so interesting. They finally figure out that you cannot grow by staying in your comfort zone. You can only grow by getting outside your comfort zone and starting to experience new things every day. If you experience one new thing every day for the next twenty years, you’ll have 7305 new experiences (accounting for the five leap years also). So, wouldn’t you say that it should be worth it to spice it up just a tad?

If you live your life in an experiential way, taking in each experience, rather than evaluating them with labels, but just letting the experience pass you by, and moving onto the next one with gratitude, grace, ease, and lightness, you will start to see how powerful this way of living is. It will push you to experience more and more of what you currently are not. It is a powerful tool for fulfillment. If you root yourself in experiences, rather than material possessions, rather than things that are, by nature, impermanent, you will feel more secure. This is because people cannot take those experiences away from you. Someone could come over today and take all your possessions, your land, your home, but they can never take what you’ve done, who you’ve met, and the good/bad times you’ve endured. Root yourself in what cannot be taken away and you’ll be freer than most people in this world.

They say that people look for love in material possessions, like that next new car is going to make me feel good enough to be loved. But perhaps this sort of feeling is misjudged as unconditional love is out there everywhere if you look hard enough. And you will never acquire it from the things around you, but from living things and nature and to spend time interacting with the “living sector” of life, rather than spending time in the “possession sector.” Of course, spending time with both of these sectors count as an experience, but which of the two is richer? Your laptop will not help you when you’re down, nor will your washer/dryer combination. But living things, be them animals or people in your life, will often try to help cheer you up or help you with your situation. And if you do not feel that way, I urge you to try and find people who will do these things for you.

If you are grateful for each and every experience you have, and try to find the good in all of it, more good things will happen to you. Optimism is so much better than pessimism. Although everyone gets a bout of pessimism once in awhile, rerouting that negativity with a healthy dose of joy is just what the doctor ordered. If you view all your experiences in the most positive way possible, you start to build momentum towards the positive life you’ve always dreamed of. I see this as proof in my own life and the lives of those who live by these rules. Even if you cannot completely control what happens to you, you can always choose how to react to what is going on. So make the empowering choice and spice up your life. Get as many experiences as you can, good or bad, and then give them all a positive spin. It will be worth it. Peace to everyone.

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Staying in the Moment

The best way to spend your present moments is in the present, not in the past or in the future, worrying about things that have not happened, wondering if things will happen. It is better to enjoy each moment as it comes without expectation than it is to expect something. Make no appointments and you’ll have no disappointments. The fact is that ever moment on this Earth, in the universe, is a gift, one that should not be sqandered, so wasting your time in non-present negativity is not going to get you anywhere.

I like the whole “time is an illusion” concept. It is true because the only moment you can actively perceive is right now. You may be able to dip into your past or dream about the future, but you are doing those things in the present. Your best bet is to stay present and work towards eternal joy. Know in the depths of your heart that joy is all around you, waiting to be released and that in order to get it, you just need to focus on each and every moment as it is, without expectation, and allow that moment to be, and the next, and the next.

Think about it: if you expect nothing, anything is a bonus. Even if the occurrence is negative, you have the capacity to make it better, if you please to. If not, you allow it into your reality. As things come at you, or you go to things (my personal favorite), you start to look at them from a whole different perspective. For example, I recently got some supposedly “bad” news when I found out my comedy performance would be delayed a few weeks, but after some anger and a nap, I came to my senses and knew I wasn’t even ready for a July 9th performance anyway. Working nine days straight and 11 out of 12 will definitely put comedy on the back burner, and with my show approaching so rapidly and my mind allocated to other tasks, it is now perceived as a blessing, rather than a curse.

I believe perhaps I intended for this to happen because I really kept saying to myself, “There is no way I’ll be ready in time.” So I was sending that message out into the universe, and the universe manifested me more time. I love to see this power of thought stuff in action. One time, my grandfather was going to pick me up to do some driving (before I had my license), and he said he would be there at ten, but I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to get ready, so I said to the world, “I need more time,” and he calls me at ten till ten and says he’ll be a half-hour late, as something held him up at his condo.

So staying in the present and acknowledging that there really is no “time” except now really opens new doors for you and your life. Just do me a favor and try it out. Go for a presence walk. Do what it is that allows you to see it firsthand. You’ll thank me someday. And if not, well, sorry.

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