Category Archives: Half Thoughts

Why is Rumi just soooo good?

Throw away the passion, envy, and grudges from the heart. Change your bad behavior and bad thoughts. Denying everything harms you, deny little. Affirmation is, on the other hand, useful. Increase your affirmation.

~Rumi

Why is it that often Eastern and Middle Eastern texts are just so much easier to read than Western texts? I’m talking about Rumi. I’m talking about Thich Nhat Hanh. Their words are just so simple and concise. Their words pierce my soul and vibrate like piano strings in my heart.

Sometimes western texts are just too wordy. It’s ironic because in the west we are raised on the western texts. We are raised on white authors, white philosophers, and white theologians. But sometimes their words bore me and I just can’t get through the stuff.

But give me a Rumi poem. I could read it over and over and over again. And never stop smiling. There’s a reason his words get memed all over Facebook with pretty pictures. His stuff sticks.

I’ve recently begun this path of minimalism. And I have a theory that the reason the non-western guys are so good with words is because they’ve got the minimalism thing down. Less is more.

I think there’s also another element. Sometimes I feel like they’ve connected with their heart more. There’s a feeling that comes through their words that is often lacking in the western texts. It’s like in the west everyone is too wrapped up in their heads to really feel with their heart. And poetry isn’t an intellectual exercise. #halfthoughts

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Transition

It’s been a while since I posted on here. Since I last wrote, I moved out of my apartment in Korea, mailed 9 boxes to the states by boat, moved back to America, and then moved across the country to start grad school.  Now, I’m already 5 weeks into my first semester!

Grad school is exciting. I’m meeting awesome people, I have classes with awesome faculty, and I’m being challenged regularly.

But I still don’t feel settled. I keep having to remind myself that I didn’t just move states, I moved countries. On top of that, I’ve implemented several life style changes recently.

I’m still getting used to everything and it’s simply going to take me awhile until I feel like I’ve fully transitioned my life to being here.

I’m still in the process of purchasing possessions like a car, auto insurance, new camera equipment, furniture, bedding, and SPICES. I don’t think I’ll feel fully at home until my pantry is complete. Looking forward to that day. One bottle of tumeric at a time. #intransition

#WhatYouDontSee

It’s Depression Awareness Week and there’s an awesome hashtag trending on twitter to shed light on the conversation surrounding depression.

So here’s my too long for twitter #WhatYouDontSee inspired slam poem

#WhatYouDontSee

The floodgates
holding back the reservoir of tears
in the corners of my eyes.

Flimsy levies
which burst open
when I walk down the stairs
to take out the trash,
when I hit the bike trail
to finally do that exercise
they tell me will release endorphins,
when I leave our lunch
after shaking your hand good bye,
when I sit there on my yoga mat
with my mind screaming,
“I DIDN’T CHOSE THIS,”
as I listen to my teacher
drone on and on
about how depressed people can
just choose
how they feel.

The dirty dishes
that pile up in my sink
and on my countertops,
sitting there for days,
which mound up like Mount Everest,
standing between me and my dinner.
I can’t cook
until my dishes are clean
and I can’t clean
until I stop staring at the youtube videos
floating across my screen.

The crumpled wads
of foil kimbab wrappers
from every time I never managed to scale Mount Everest,
and every time I finally managed
to climb half way up,
only to run out of time
to prepare a decent meal,
and was forced to retreat
to the kimbap heaven
around the corner.

The guilt
from knowing I pushed away
the people I love most
and that I wasn’t there
when they needed me.

The time I spend lying on my floor
in a puddle of tears-
minutes
turn into hours
turn into days
turn into weeks.

The countless number of times
I gave myself permission
to be sad and unproductive
this week-
until this week turned into 2 weeks,
turned into 2 months,
turned into today,
over and over again,
like I’m the main character
in the movie “Groundhog Day.”

What you don’t see
are the lies in my head
that tell me
this
will
never
end.

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Don’t Let The Rain Stop You

One day last summer it rained.  On that particular day, I didn’t have an umbrella, so I walked home without one. That may have been the first time I didn’t even mind getting wet. As the rain drops kept falling on my head, I kept picturing that meme that had been circulating the internet: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” I raised up my hands to the sky and smiled.

I once spent a summer in Kodiak, Alaska. Kodiak is a small island where is rains almost everyday. The first weekend I was there, my friend S and I were planning climb one of the taller mountains on the island. While sitting in the car eating a jalapeño cheese bagel topped with avocado and veggie cream cheese, I asked S whether we should skip the hike due to the rain.

He told me, “You can’t let the rain stop you. It’s always raining in Kodiak. So if you want to do anything, you have to learn to do things in the rain.”

We finished our breakfast bagels and then we climbed a mountain. It was difficult, I was the slowest one, and the clouds at the top blocked the view.  But I will always remember eating the most amazing bagel of my life at the summit. The bagels I had eaten at the bottom of the mountain and at the top of the mountain were exactly the same, except for one thing. The one at the top had one extra ingredient: overcoming fear.

Mount Pyramid was the first of many hikes that summer. It was also the best one, simply because I didn’t let the rain stop me.

Note to self: You can’t let the rain stop you. Go out and dance in it.

Why is depression so hard to talk about?

Why is it so easy to talk about our physical illnesses, yet so incredibly difficult to admit when we are depressed?

If someone asks, “How are you?” it’s so easy to say, “I’m really sick. I’ve been sick for weeks. ” But “I’m depressed. I’ve been depressed for weeks,” almost never leaves my lips.

A few months ago I was eating lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I felt on the verge of tears and I desperately wanted to tell her: “I think I’m depressed.” But there was this lump in my throat and I couldn’t get the words out. When we left, I put on my sunglasses to hide the tears that were starting to stream down my face.

The thing is everyone gets depressed. It’s such a human emotion. We all feel it at some point and to varying degrees. Why can’t we just admit it?

The Stages of Grief

Somewhere I read that the stages of grief are the same as the stages of forgiveness. This makes a lot of sense to me. It also explains why I have such a hard time forgiving people and why it takes so long to process.

If you never let yourself mourn, you can never reach the final stage. And if you never reach acceptance, then you can never really forgive. I’ve never really let myself mourn before.

You can’t rush the stages of grief. And you can’t skip any of them. You have to let them wash over you in waves. Once each stage has hit it’s high tide, I promise you’ll feel cleaner.

I know because I feel like I’ve been in a constant tsunami of grief for the last year. I must have gone through the stages at least 4 or 5 times now.

I’m crossing my fingers that I’m riding the last wave of the season. It’s unclear if I’ve reached the acceptance stage for any of the previous run-throughs, but maybe they were all just dress rehearsals leading up to the final performance. I’m hoping this is the final performance.

Last Sunday, I asked a question in yoga class and I didn’t like the answer I got. I don’t know if it was even the answer so much as the question itself, but something triggered a flood of tears that didn’t stop for a good 20 minutes. I was sitting there on my mat sobbing and my teacher was telling me to stop fighting the battle that was eating away inside of me. I was mad at him. I was mad at myself. I was mad. And then he said, “You’re dying.”

It didn’t click until later, but he was right. I’m mourning my old self. Again. And when you mourn you go through the stages of grief. And right now I’m dead center in the anger/ depression stage. That’s what’s been keeping me up all night for the last month. That’s what’s been keeping me numbing on youtube videos and tumblr posts. That’s what’s been making me feel bad that I couldn’t get up before noon, or go to bed before 3am.

At last month’s open mic, I performed this poem that was about anger and depression and forgiveness and the stages of grief. And in the poem I said:

“I deserve to go through every single stage of grief, even if it takes 100 years to do so.”

In the poem, I was speaking to someone else, but I was really just trying to convince myself that it was true.

It is.

And I’m slowly learning to believe it and live by it.

I’m stuck in one of those stages right now. And even if it takes 100 years, I’m allowed to be here. Right where I am. Awake at 1am in the morning, angry, sad, sleepless, unproductive, not crossing things off my to-do list, whatever. It’s ok.

I’m a glass-half-full type of person, so I predict this stage will last less time than 100 years. It might turn out to be closer to 100 days, though, and that’s ok too.

Why are we so afraid?

FEAR.

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear recently. And how to face it.

Our wold lives in fear. And I get pissed when people try to tell me I shouldn’t do things because I should be afraid. Just because other people are afraid doesn’t mean I need to be. The worst part is it’s really hard to reject it. I absorb fear subconsciously just by nature of the fact that people keep pushing it on me.

Fear is the most powerful force out there. Fear of failure. Fear of missing out. Fear of rejection. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of being alone. Fear of death. I’m sure there are plenty more.

I understand that some fear is valid, but a lot of it is false. And I don’t have room in my life for false fear anymore.

I reject fear.

I admit, I have fear. I don’t have any less fear than others. I almost feel it more acutely because I’m so aware of it. I feel it in body. Sometimes it manifests in my churning stomach or in the speed of my beating heart.

I was telling my friend M about some of my #half-thoughts on fear and she told me about this guy who practices Rejection Therapy to overcome his fear of rejection.

I really liked the idea, so I decided February’s #Unplanning task is Rejection Therapy. Every day this month I’m practicing getting rejected and also rejecting others.

One of my biggest struggles is rejecting others and moving on. I have a really hard time saying no to things and people and letting go. I hope this month of rejection therapy will allow me to strengthen some of my anti-fear muscles.