Feel Alive!

Choose to be whomever you please; imaginary or real.

Monday, March 19, 2018


by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is / 
you must lose things, / 
feel the future dissolve in a moment / 
like salt in a weakened broth. / 
What you held in your hand, / 
what you counted and carefully saved, / 
all this must go so you know / 
how desolate the landscape can be / 
between the regions of kindness. / 
How you ride and ride / 
thinking the bus will never stop, / 
the passengers eating maize and chicken / 
will stare out the window forever. // 

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness, / 
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho / 
lies dead by the side of the road. / 
You must see how this could be you, / 
how he too was someone / 
who journeyed through the night with plans / 
and the simple breath that kept him alive. // 

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, / 
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. / 
You must wake up with sorrow. / 
You must speak to it till your voice / 
catches the thread of all sorrows / 
and you see the size of the cloth. / 
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore, / 
only kindness that ties your shoes / 
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread, / 
only kindness that raises its head / 
from the crowd of the world to say / 
It is I you have been looking for, / 
and then goes with you everywhere / 
like a shadow or a friend.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

For one who is not there

Thanks for saying it so beautifully, Henry Rollins.

I think it’s great for two people to be together. That is a good number. I think, that to keep it alive though, you can’t spend every day together. It wears out the magic, Love means nothing to me if it’s not fortified with fierce, painful longing, brief explosive instances of furious passion and intimacy and then a sad parting for a time. In that way, you can give your life to it and still have a life of your own. I think some couples spend too much time together. They flatten out the potential for experience by constant closeness. Passion builds over time like steam. Let it rage until it’s exhausted and then leave it alone to let it build up again. Why can’t love be insane and distorted? How can it be vital if it has the same threshold as normal day-to-day experience?

Why can’t you write burning letters and let your nocturnal self smoulder with desire for one who is not there? Why not let the days before you see her be excruciating and ferment in your mind so on the day you go to the airport to pick her up, you’re nearly sick with anticipation? And then when desire shows the first sign of contentment, throw it back it its cage and let it slowly build itself back into a state of starved fury. Then when you are together, it all matters. So that when you look into her eyes, you lose your balance, so that when she touches you, it feels like you have never been touched before. When she says your name, you think it was she who named you. When she has gone, you bury your face in the pillow to smell her hair and you lie awake at night remembering your face in her neck, her breathing and the amazing smell of her skin. Your eyes go wet because you want her so bad and miss her so much. Now that is worth the miles and the time. That matches the inferno of life. Otherwise you poison each other with your presence day after day as you drag each other through the inevitable mundane aspects of your lives. That is the slow death that I see slapped on faces everywhere I go. It’s part of the world’s sadness that’s more empty than cold, poorly lit rooms in cities of the American night.

PS: Thanks Cal for literally digging up this treasure.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Death is Certain, a meditation

Stephen Bachelor on "Wondrous Doubt"

Listen to the whole podcast: Wondrous Doubt - On Being

"The weird paradox is that the more you ask yourself that question — “Death is certain; its time is uncertain: What should I do?” — this brings you back to a very vivid sense that you’re alive. It intensifies the sense of aliveness, in terms of how you see the colors, the shapes, the leaves, the flowers, the — whatever impacts you visually or from the ears to the nose to the tongue to the body to the mind. It is a kind of intensifier of being alive, a kind of — almost a celebration of being here at all.

And that is infused not only with a sense of wonder, but also with a sense of possibility, a sense of responsibility — that in what you say, think, do, this may be your final legacy on this earth. That, to me, is where this reflection leads me. And it’s with me — I wouldn’t say every single minute of every single day; I also have moments in which I’m not particularly proud of how I speak or act or think. But broadly speaking, I find myself constantly returning to what’s implicit in that question. And that has made my life, I think, very full. I’m deeply grateful for the practices that this tradition has brought me, and I very much hope that others, too, will find value in these ideas and it will allow their lives, too, to flourish. "

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Utterly Humbled by Mystery

I love Richard Rohr. Living in Deep Time is a really great podcast episode with him and Krista Tippett from On Being. His words take me deep, they make real sense to me (because he doesn't believe there should ever be too many certainties in life).


Utterly Humbled by Mystery

I believe in mystery and multiplicity. To religious believers this may sound almost pagan. But I don’t think so. My very belief and experience of a loving and endlessly creative God has led me to trust in both.
I’ve had the good fortune of teaching and preaching across much of the globe, while also struggling to make sense of my experience in my own tiny world. This life journey has led me to love mystery and not feel the need to change it or make it un-mysterious. This has put me at odds with many other believers I know who seem to need explanations for everything.
Religious belief has made me comfortable with ambiguity. “Hints and guesses,” as T.S. Eliot would say. I often spend the season of Lent in a hermitage, where I live alone for the whole 40 days. The more I am alone with the Alone, the more I surrender to ambivalence, to happy contradictions and seeming inconsistencies in myself and almost everything else, including God. Paradoxes don’t scare me anymore.
When I was young, I couldn’t tolerate such ambiguity. My education had trained me to have a lust for answers and explanations. Now, at age 63, it’s all quite different. I no longer believe this is a quid pro quo universe — I’ve counseled too many prisoners, worked with too many failed marriages, faced my own dilemmas too many times and been loved gratuitously after too many failures.
Whenever I think there’s a perfect pattern, further reading and study reveal an exception. Whenever I want to say “only” or “always,” someone or something proves me wrong. My scientist friends have come up with things like “principles of uncertainty” and dark holes. They’re willing to live inside imagined hypotheses and theories. But many religious folks insist on answers that are always true. We love closure, resolution and, clarity, while thinking that we are people of “faith”! How strange that the very word “faith” has come to mean its exact opposite.
People who have really met the Holy are always humble. It’s the people who don’t know who usually pretend that they do. People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind. It is a litmus test for authentic God experience, and is — quite sadly — absent from much of our religious conversation today. My belief and comfort is in the depths of Mystery, which should be the very task of religion.


Mexico changed my life.
I knew it would, deep down inside, but I wasn't sure how. Heck, I'm still not 100% sure how.

But there's a few things I realized:

1. I don't need much.

2. I don't really know what love is.

3. I like people, a lot.

4. Water and I have become great friends.

5. I belong in hot climates.

6. I am drawn to cacti.

7. I love rolling around, new interest being on a skateboard.

8. I want to dance every day and as much as possible.

9. I love and hate being humiliated.

10. Life is transient and I fit right in.

11. I can actually still speak French kinda.



I'm 30 years old.
Old... it depends how you look at it.
I looked at the "30 years old" birthday card I received from mom and it looked a little surreal. I couldn't tell if I shouldn't be this old yet or if I should be older.

I feel mature, and immature all at the same time.
I feel like I am where I always wanted to be, yet so displaced at the same time.
I have a lot of assumptions, a lot of understanding, but I know nothing.

I don't think I should have it figured out. Everyone says by 30 you should have it figured out. That's bullshit. I don't think we should ever really have it figured out; once you do, you might as well be dead. It's the journey not the destination right? What if swimming in this endless ocean and being brought back to shore and coming back in and being brought back and repeating this pattern forever is actually what life's all about? What if we never find a purpose in life, rather we see that everything around us IS the reason: to swim in it?

I believe I have solidified my understanding of myself throughout my 20s ... for now.
I may have become a new Lydia about 10 times in my 20s.
That's once a year.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Chemistry and Alchemy

The Difference Between Chemistry and Alchemy

-- Translated in English from its original Spanish form (below) --

They asked the Teacher what the difference was between chemistry and alchemy in relationships and he answered these beautiful and wise words: 

People looking for "Chemistry" are scientists of love, 
that is, they are accustomed to action and reaction. 
People who find "Alchemy" are artists of love,
They constantly create new ways of loving. 

Chemists love out of necessity.
The Alchemists by choice. 
Chemistry dies with time,
Alchemy is born through time.
Chemistry loves the container.
Alchemy enjoys the content. 
Chemistry happens.
Alchemy is built. 

Everyone is looking for Chemistry, only some find Alchemy. 
Chemistry attracts and distracts male and female,
Alchemy integrates the masculine and feminine principle,
Which is how it becomes a relationship of free individuals
With its own wings, and not in an attraction that is subject to the whims of the ego. 

In conclusion, the Master said looking at his students: 

Alchemy brings together what Chemistry separates.
Alchemy is real marriage, chemistry divorce which we see every day in most couples. 

Let's start building conscious relationships, because chemistry will always age the body,
while alchemy will always caress us from within.

-- In Spanish --

Le preguntaron al Maestro cuál era la diferencia entre la química y la alquimia en las relaciones de pareja y contesto estas hermosas y sabias palabras:

Las personas que buscan "Química" son científicos del amor,
es decir, están acostumbrados a la acción y a la reacción.
Las personas que encuentran la "Alquimia" son artistas del amor,
crean constantemente nuevas formas de amar.

Los Químicos aman por necesidad.
Los Alquimistas por elección.

La Química muere con el tiempo,
La Alquimia nace a través del tiempo...

La Química ama el envase.
La Alquimia disfruta del contenido.

La Química sucede.
La Alquimia se construye.

Todos buscan Química,
solo algunos encuentran la Alquimia.

La Química atrae y distrae a machistas y a feministas.
La Alquimia integra el principio masculino y femenino,
por eso se transforma en una relación de individuos libres
y con alas propias, y no en una atracción que está sujeta
a los caprichos del ego.

En conclusión, dijo el Maestro mirando a sus alumnos:

La Alquimia reúne lo que la Química separa.
La Alquimia es el matrimonio real, la Química el divorcio
que vemos todos los días en la mayoría de las parejas.

"Comencemos a construir relaciones conscientes,
pues la química siempre nos hará envejecer el cuerpo,
mientras la alquimia siempre nos acariciará desde adentro".