oftheuniverse: (Beatles ♥ Geo purple)
2012-12-10 11:14 am

(no subject)

I feel like I keep going through crisis periods where everything feels like it's falling apart, and nihilistic ideas ring through me as if they're the only truth. I've never really felt so desperately dark before now, when I'm in one of those moods - but I've been getting through them, lately, because I'm finally really internalizing and believing what I'd been just telling myself for years. Life has to balanced between good and bad things, and what that really means is that if I want to be able to FEEL at all, I have to have some terrible times and difficult mornings and car-crying sessions to be able to feel elation and simple pleasures like cups of coffee and late nights with friends and breakthroughs with clients. Sometimes I wonder if other people have such violently ill periods of thought, sort of a vomiting session of the mind so that you can go about the rest of your next few days uninterrupted and much soothed, but then I figure it's best to focus on what works for me instead. (Although I do still wonder!)

I've also been finding lately that my decision - because that's what it WAS, about four years ago when I heard someone critique "open-minded" people of being exactly the opposite - to be truly more open-minded has...really been working. I don't get upset when hearing most conflicting views (when told in a normal format) and even when someone is angry. After reading parts of a book (for myself) on anger management and several on childhood development I feel like I can...understand, at least in basic concepts, why people like say my mother are so unaccountably rude and volatile at random times, and I try to keep my cool in return. Why let their negativity wash through me as well, when it's themselves that are the problem - not me?

Ever since embracing religion and learning more about it - all different kinds of religions, not just Christianity - I've felt a lot calmer about other different beliefs to my own. I used to be a defensive and aggressive atheist, mostly because of my parents being that way and some religious people taking a strange offense to me just...stating that I wasn't Christian. I felt alienated for something that hadn't even been a conscious decision on my part, just the way I'd been raised, and I was understandably upset over it. But now it's just another facet of learning about how humans function, how we used to explain the unexplainable and how we still reach into that rich pocket of ancient not-quite-understanding to help ourselves.

I had a lot I wanted to discuss and I feel like I'm just barely scraping the surface of everything, it's been so long since I wrote about myself at length on the computer, and not just scribbling down in notebooks some of my feelings so I could better cope with them. xD

In conclusion: I had a terrible past two weeks interspersed sparingly with some phenomenally good times, and my morning at work just absolutely saved my mood. I love that I can love my job.
oftheuniverse: (Words ♥ Universe closed use rainbow)
2012-06-06 10:19 pm
Entry tags:

Chats

My girlfriend and two mutual friends of ours had an absolutely amazing day/night together. We ended up getting home a lot later than planned and in fact ended up missing both (all three?) possible trains in our ecstatic and time-ignorant conversations, which culminated in Kat (girlfriend) and I getting a ride home from our friends' mother when she was headed off to her nightshift job.

It started off as almost a rant on one of their parts about a dissolving friendship with a roommate who was moving out, someone who clearly could use help but a lot of animosity had been built towards them because this person takes and is rude, etc, and it brought up a lot of conversation about the nature of relationships and having to hit rock bottom to learn to pull yourself back up and fight for yourself. From there it just spiraled up and out into a free-for-all about religion, spirituality, growth, personal meanings of symbols and ideas and of taking bits and pieces of everything in life to assemble something deeper for yourself.

Basically everything I half-assedly will do in my head was happening out loud with three people I feel very comfortable with, and it felt like all of us were very...connected and on the top of our games tonight. One of our friends just recently went off-meds and she seemed so alive earlier (and lately, but it especially showed today) it was truly beautiful. I loved sitting back and listening to everyone's personal stories just as much as adding my own (perhaps more, since that's the sort of person that I am; a listener).

It's renewed my interest in spirituality and self-expression, something which I actually tend to actively tamp down in myself because I've always been taught that to exist in society as a functioning cog in the clockwork of it all, you just have to give up some parts of expression. For my job I need to be extremely neutral, to the point of expressing anything "fruity" potentially making me seem like "one of those hippies" (I'm a massage therapist, for anyone not in the know) and it's been easy, since I'm naturally a withdrawn sort of person most of the time, for that to bleed over. It's hard for me to go out in public in certain styles of dress and not feel like an idiot or like I'm being judged. I almost always want to impress people and seem like someone to be respected and it's so hard for me to balance that with self-realisation, expression, and respect.

In Daoism, the idea of doing what YOU want and what comes naturally to YOU is what is most important, and in Confucianism on the surface it's completely the opposite. You only exist in relation to others, and interpersonal formalities are the foundations of its ideals. I feel like I'm constantly torn between these two extremes and both make sense to me. Humans exist in society and society needs certain rules for interaction, but everyone (especially in America) is really taught to never just be "one of the crowd". We're all taught that we need to be leaders to be respected, not followers, and that we need to pursue the "American dream" of making as much money as possible.

But in truth, if everyone was a leader, nothing would get done. Without garbagemen, without people pouring your coffee, life would be a lot different. If everyone had a lot of money, the worth of it would just deflate and no one would have any money. You need "followers", you NEED not-leaders in society and I've... I don't feel ashamed to be one of them. I've struggled with that idea for a really long time, in a time and place that shames those who are willing to "settle", but I've been coming to terms with it and I truly believe that it's just as noble to recognise your use in serving others as well as serving yourself. It's a mixture of the two that's necessary for society to function, for people to be happy and fulfilled.

And I'm going to sign off now and attempt to go to bed and sleep before journeying off to the Cape tomorrow; I simply feel bad that I have ~all these thoughts~ lately and I haven't actually written anything down here. Sorry if it's incoherent, awesome if you get something from it, and I love all of you. ♥
oftheuniverse: (Boffle ♥ My word Jane!)
2012-05-03 11:48 am
Entry tags:

Yesterday was fun otherwise though

I got into a long "discussion" with my sister yesterday/last night, because she posted a video of Stephen Fry talking about how belief in the afterlife impedes your ability to live a good this-life. (It actually wasn't as condescending as I had imagined it to be initially, though.)

Playing the mediator card as I so often do, especially about something I'm as passionate about as religious studies, I just tried to debunk some of the generalizations I was seeing. I'd also lent my sister, per her request, my copy of the Bhagavad Gita: As It Is (so the translation by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada), and she had started texting me how "Christianity totally ripped off Hinduism". I agreed that a lot of cultures have similar things in their religions (otherwise how would we even know to call it "religion" if not reoccuring themes?) and asked her what SHE found to be similar. When she replied with "dogma" and the forcing of strict relgious practices on practitioners, I tried to explain that the Bhagavad Gita is, while the more modern Hindu epic text, not the end-all of religious authority. First there was the rigidity of fire sacrifice told about in the Vedas, then the more philosophical turn of the Upanishads, then the epic tales of the Ramayana and Mahabharata (the Bhagavad Gita is a book inside the Mahabharata). And nowadays, the people who identify as Hindu are generally just practitioners of Bhakti Yoga, which is what the Bhagavad Gita kinda kicked off anyway. Basically, they're simply devoted to a god of their choosing and that's...their religion. Individual practices are based on what country/area they're from and level of devoutness, etc.

So I was trying to get across that just because she's now finally read one of the "Hindu" texts, it doesn't mean that it's viewed the way Christians view their Bible - it doesn't tell them exactly what to do, but provided a starting point for a cultural/religious shift.

Well, my sister hates being argued with and apparently decided I was calling her stupid by "telling her things [she] already knows" and even went so far as to decide that calling me "butthurt" was a good way to reassure me that she was perfectly calm in this discussion.

Obviously I'm done responding to her if she's being so ridiculous, but it was pretty trying for me to have her be insulting huge swaths of cultures and religions and simply hand-waving the facts I was trying to show her as "Oh you just think you're smarter than me because you've read more than me, but I know more than you about religion because I've been interested in it longer and I wanted to study religion in college at one point!". Uhm, no. This isn't a contest about who knows more, this is about learning to respect other cultures and not just assume that everyone who identifies as a certain religion practices in the same way.

But of course, my sister thinks she can do no wrong and that if you try to correct her or show her new information, that what you're really saying is "I'm smarter than you". I realise I'm not perfect and perhaps my tone wasn't as neutral as I can hope it was, but it's frustrating when she immediately feels cornered and starts getting insultingly self-defensive.

This sort of reminds me of the time she told me that all Muslims follow the Quran to the letter and are prejudiced and violent. I mean, literally said to me that their religion is terrible and inherently all about killing people who disagree with you, and that anyone who identifies as Muslim but might NOT feel that way just isn't a true Muslim. I just... Hopefully she doesn't say stuff like that in public, I guess?
oftheuniverse: (Boffle ♥ My word Jane!)
2012-01-10 05:49 pm

RP and an update

[personal profile] badkarma's and my baby, a panfandom/OC/RPF/anypossiblecharacter roleplay has finally opened. I cleaned it up, made a banner and a mod icon, and finished up the absolutely-necessary posts, though I'm still anticipating realising more things I should include to make it as accessible as possible.

So, if any of the people reading my journal are interested in roleplays, or have friends who are, [community profile] sanctuaryofchange_rp is a DW-based roleplay that just opened up. :) (Currently five characters, soon there will be six, and we're anticipating a slow growth from there.)


Anyway! I did my first massage for money this past Saturday, and even got a tip; which I don't think I truly earned but it made me feel good nonetheless. :3 I figured out a lot of weird things that I have to fix that I hadn't thought of yet (such as having a back-up system for music in case my computer freezes and I can't use iTunes, which is what happened; the silence can be a little awkward, plus the music covers over any ambient noise from the house/squeaky floorboards). I also need to figure out how to keep my cat quiet (poor thing) and I need to invest in an adjustable, wheeled stool, for helping with the supine neck/shoulders. But I've already decided to try to only spend money on massage that I earn on massage, and plan on ferreting away money from my jobs at home and at the spa downtown for using on renewing my license and insurance, and on continuing education classes. Then I'll alllow myself to start using the money as actual income. (I've got quite the financial hole to dig myself out of, considering how much being an LMT costs and how little I've made since getting my license for the first year. It's alright though, I just needed to mature, I think, before getting a job as an MT.)

I've got two more tomorrow, in my first time working for the spa, so I'm nervous about being in a new area and working around someone else's rules - but otherwise I'm pretty confident. I've done literally hundreds of massages on people I hardly/didn't at all know while in school, so I don't foresee any issues from that. ♥ And on Saturday? Two more. (That translates into $104, I believe, from about five hours of work, which I'm definitely okay with.)

As for things that aren't work-related, I feel a lot...happier about my life recently, actually. I had a fairly important event last Wednesday that I may or may not write about in the future that's helped me in my quest to change the way I view things, and it's been wonderful. :) I haven't made as much progress as I'd thought I would with learning Norwegian, but I'm alright with that because instead, I've been cleaning up my living area and practicing keeping calm (whether I'm faced with anger or anxiety) and I'm honestly pretty proud of my growth so far this year. I'm really hoping to keep it up, and to help myself I may set some solid resolutions for the next month; and do the same every new month, as I think goals are something you need to re-evaluate a lot more than just once a year.