The Choice is Yours?

The Choice is Yours?

“We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.” ~ Ken Levine

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Look (ing) Up

                                   Change your perspective

                                        see a different view

     Instead of looking down

                                                                                             on the world just maybe

                                                                                 If you decide to reach

                                                                                                 your eyes up to the sky

                                                                     Seeing a different view

may change your perspective.

~ Bryan Hayes

Image

Darkness, The Philosophy Of

Can you see me?    See me even when I’m there in my darkest hour?   Will you, would you and have you looked away?

It is a question that has been asked of me continually since as far back as I can remember.  “How come you are always so happy?”  or “How do you stay so positive?”

The answer varies from a simple smile to a more philosophical anecdote.  What remains unchanged is the fact that I am an overall pretty happy and positive person.   How I do that is a process much like all of life is a process.   It is much like getting in shape.  In order to do so there are several steps that one normally takes.  Movement, in one form of exercise or another and nutrition, in the form of a healthy diet are two key components.

In terms of staying positive and being happy another step for me (because movement and a healthy diet is a part of my process) is ensuring a toxic free environment.   That does not mean that I live in a bubble that is encased and is therefore germ free. To the contrary, because to me my environment is more powerful than I am so ensuring that I have healthy, happy and positive people who I surround myself is a must.

We are not robots.  Each of us has facets of ourselves that are less than glamorous.  They are our blemishes, our scars, if you will.  Most of us though do not have those captured on film for the entire world to see.  In fact, most of us want to ensure that the world (their world) only sees them as being perfect.  Anything less is unthinkable.

Capitalizing on this fear is a myriad of industries and advertising agencies feeding off the insecurities of individuals, because of that insatiable need to be perfect.   That perfection is, of course, an illusion.  Even the most glamorous of super models have their photos airbrushed and edited to the point where sometimes they are unrecognizable.

The real key is not how everyone else looks at us, but how do we look at ourselves.   I am someone who has historically not been someone who has colored between the lines, fit into anyone’s particular box because there are a lot of layers to me as a person.   When the powers that be professed that someone or something be “bad”, “ugly”, “evil”, or whatever the case may be, even as a young child I had the propensity to ask myself, “Is that true?

While I have pretty much receive favorable reviews amongst my peers, been seen as popular, and yes positive, I also know and understand that they really do not know me.  They do not know the half of who I am and for me that is ok.   My mission in life is not to impress everyone, or for that matter, anyone.

Though I cannot sit here and say, “What you see is what you get”, because what you see is merely a perception of your reality of what and who you think I am.   Fortunately, I too see myself as being very happy and positive, so there is that alignment although I am just as comfortable with my blemishes and wish my scars that I am with my most favorable features.

In fact, on Halloween, we put on make up and I took some pictures.    They were received in many different ways ranging from fun to frightening.  To me, it is fun to put on a different face other than the one who is always smiling and snap the picture.   Drawing something other than the fortuitous flower is fun, because I have wondered who really determined what the flower is and what is the weed anyway?

When sitting alone it is when I tackle my problems, but also when I face my demons.  I face them head on and without censorship.  Looking past the flower, I want to investigate why there may be weeds that continue to grow inside my head and what I can do to change that if it spiritual growth.

Never do I want to stop learning.   My opinion it may change several times, because the more information I gather the more I may feel the need to alter my thought process based on what I have uncovered.    The same is true not only externally but internally as well.

It is we, not they.   We are more alike than we are different, and at the same time, we are all unique and because of that uniqueness we have our own individual exquisiteness as well as unsightliness.  While we may not be perfect, we are perfect for our imperfections because it is those imperfections that make us whole.

Being able to embrace the totality of what is inside, to find out what is working and what is not and make the necessary changes is about progress.  It is about moving ahead, even if it means moving backwards to do so.   We can exist, but do we choose to live?   We can breathe, but how much do we truly give of ourselves so that we can safely say that we have lived?

If it were not for hardships, how would we know the peer joy of celebration?  The sky though without clouds and nothing but sheer silky blue as far as the eye can see is the same sky as when it is filled with stormy weather.   There is more.

It is our choice what it is that we choose to see.  We can hide the black marks, which may be prudent as the world has yet to fully embrace us.  By us I mean that as long as “they” exist in the mind then there will be inferiority, and whenever there is inferiority, there is justification for imbalance and   even harm.    If everyone fully embraced themselves and each other, equally and without perception of division then it would be one step toward seeing one another for the very first time.

Darkness can and is a scary place. It is where the shadows dwell and the underbelly of the subculture roam.  There in the gutter it is scary.  Isn’t it?

Or is it?

When faced with something deemed scary it has been my intention for as long as I can remember to find out for myself.  That comes with an addendum.   For me, scary movies are something that has never been of an interest.  And, I have come to a place where I do not even like violent acts seen depicted through action movies.    It is merely a matter of personal taste.

It is those true life things that people find as scary that I like to investigate for myself.   It must have started in elementary school.   When I remember classmates declaring that we should bomb Russia because they were evil, I wondered aloud whether kids on the other said were saying the same about us.   To me, I doubted that we were that much different from each other and expressed it in a rather amusing way by writing “Russia Rules” all over my shoes.

It was not that I (as a wat maybe a seventh grader) felt what I wrote was in literal terms but more so that I myself wanted to question all that I was hearing.  Whether it be from students, teachers, society, or anyone else I felt it most important to question.

To this day, I feel there are two things critically important to finding one’s own happiness.  One is to question.  Always.    Never stop questioning.    The other is the power of intention.   By being able to verbally declare at any given time one’s intention it is understanding where you are going and why you are going there in the first place.

Whenever I have not accomplished something I truly wanted, I have come to the conclusion that it is not a result of not working hard enough but rather not being fully clear of my intention and not asking the right questions.  Asking better questions is a skill set.   The ones that I respect the most have mastered the skill of asking questions.

One of my favorite pastimes is studying history.   Check out newspapers from a hundred years ago as they are most fascinating.  The same terminology is used.   The same problems exist even if the stories themselves have transformed themselves.    What remains is that no matter the time period there some something out there that was really, really scary.

Some of it is real.   More often than not it is a figment of our imagination.    Especially when it comes to other people as “they” can be deemed scary if we do not get to know them for ourselves. It has led me on my interesting travels.

Musically, when I was in high school heavy metal was considered a scary type of music with the kids listening to it being even scarier. That was what I heard.  That was what I believed.  I saw a poster from Iron Maiden with a skeleton raising a hatchet above his head with the devil infused in the picture and there was no doubt that it was scary.

While spending the night at my friend’s house, the TV was going with an Ozzy Osborne music video playing in the background.  How can anyone listen to that?   I thought.  And, more so, how could anyone sleep to such noise???

Then, as it turns out I was listening to the radio and heard a commercial for a watch company. The song was hauntingly beautiful.    It was so much more than anything I had ever heard.    I called into radio stations asking if they knew what the song was.  No one understood what I was talking about.

Remember what I said about not asking good questions?

Finally, I stumbled upon a friend who not only knew who I was listening to but gave me a cassette tape (remember those) with Black Sabbath and others on it.   What I found was that it was really good.  Not in the least bit scary, and worst of all for my parents sister and neighbors, I really liked it.

Fast forward the tape a bit and now not only is Ozzy Osbourne no longer scary, he is mainstream

The Iron Maiden posters that I found to be so scary hanging on my friend’s wall?    Well, I ended up several years ago having lunch with the drummer.   Ironic how life is.  Isn’t it?

I am also one of the few people who now meditates to heavy metal.

Rewinding to college, I was sitting in psychology when the professor said that people fear public speaking more than anything, even more than death.    The next semester I made sure that I signed up for the next public speaking class.   It may or may not be scary, but I want to find out for myself.

The same is true with religion.  While sitting at home I heard that Muslims were scary.   I had someone tell me that they could not be trusted, and on the radio a preacher proclaiming that if “we do not kill each and every Muslim they will in fact kill us.”

In a round a bout way that led me to visiting the local mosque.  What I realized more than anything is that they were more scared of me than I of them, because of what they had been enduring at the time.   I realized what I have found time and time again more than anything is that people are people.

I do not find the world to be a scary place. I proclaim that I love life more than any person on the planet, so I naturally see the world as a beautiful place. I too meet the most amazing people each and every place and it really does not matter where.  It can be in neighborhoods where friends will say it is scary, but I really enjoy getting to know people for who they are no matter where they are where they came from.

I am not naïve enough to think that aspects of life are not scary.  There are many things that scare the Hell out of me, including people in this world.  History is indicative of that.   The many atrocities that have been committed, is incredibly sad.

Even though there are dark things happening each and every day, I still find a way to see life as beautiful.   When I think someone is scary, once I meet them and get to know them I find that they are pretty much like everyone else, for the most part.

I know that others are exactly the opposite.   When they really get to know someone that is when they find them to be scary, because their beliefs and thought processes may not be coinciding with their own.   That is ok. I get it.

While I cannot speak for anyone else, when someone tells me that they see some of my photography or picture of myself that I have taken and says, “That’s scary” when I am in my place of peace my answer is, “Thank you.”   When someone proclaims, “I don’t like you.”   When in my place of peace my answer is, “Thank you.”    When another says, “I love you” or “I hate you” the answer is still the same.   “Thank you.”

And, I must thank say thank you for this amazing world allowing me to be a part of it.   I enjoy the darkness. I love the black, not only of night, but the purity that is the color.    I am looking to continue to ask questions, and my intention is to investigate for myself each and every day.

Walking my own way, on my own way not afraid to be scared but not scared of the unknown.

Can you see me?    See me even when I’m there in my darkest hour?   Will you, would you and have you looked away?

It is a question that has been asked of me continually since as far back as I can remember.  “How come you are always so happy?”  or “How do you stay so positive?”

The answer varies from a simple smile to a more philosophical anecdote.  What remains unchanged is the fact that I am an overall pretty happy and positive person.   How I do that is a process much like all of life is a process.   It is much like getting in shape.  In order to do so there are several steps that one normally takes.  Movement, in one form of exercise or another and nutrition, in the form of a healthy diet are two key components.

In terms of staying positive and being happy another step for me (because movement and a healthy diet is a part of my process) is ensuring a toxic free environment.   That does not mean that I live in a bubble that is encased and is therefore germ free. To the contrary, because to me my environment is more powerful than I am so ensuring that I have healthy, happy and positive people who I surround myself is a must.

We are not robots.  Each of us has facets of ourselves that are less than glamorous.  They are our blemishes, our scars, if you will.  Most of us though do not have those captured on film for the entire world to see.  In fact, most of us want to ensure that the world (their world) only sees them as being perfect.  Anything less is unthinkable.

Capitalizing on this fear is a myriad of industries and advertising agencies feeding off the insecurities of individuals, because of that insatiable need to be perfect.   That perfection is, of course, an illusion.  Even the most glamorous of super models have their photos airbrushed and edited to the point where sometimes they are unrecognizable.

The real key is not how everyone else looks at us, but how do we look at ourselves.   I am someone who has historically not been someone who has colored between the lines, fit into anyone’s particular box because there are a lot of layers to me as a person.   When the powers that be professed that someone or something be “bad”, “ugly”, “evil”, or whatever the case may be, even as a young child I had the propensity to ask myself, “Is that true?

While I have pretty much receive favorable reviews amongst my peers, been seen as popular, and yes positive, I also know and understand that they really do not know me.  They do not know the half of who I am and for me that is ok.   My mission in life is not to impress everyone, or for that matter, anyone.

Though I cannot sit here and say, “What you see is what you get”, because what you see is merely a perception of your reality of what and who you think I am.   Fortunately, I too see myself as being very happy and positive, so there is that alignment although I am just as comfortable with my blemishes and wish my scars that I am with my most favorable features.

In fact, on Halloween, we put on make up and I took some pictures.    They were received in many different ways ranging from fun to frightening.  To me, it is fun to put on a different face other than the one who is always smiling and snap the picture.   Drawing something other than the fortuitous flower is fun, because I have wondered who really determined what the flower is and what is the weed anyway?

When sitting alone it is when I tackle my problems, but also when I face my demons.  I face them head on and without censorship.  Looking past the flower, I want to investigate why there may be weeds that continue to grow inside my head and what I can do to change that if it spiritual growth.

Never do I want to stop learning.   My opinion it may change several times, because the more information I gather the more I may feel the need to alter my thought process based on what I have uncovered.    The same is true not only externally but internally as well.

It is we, not they.   We are more alike than we are different, and at the same time, we are all unique and because of that uniqueness we have our own individual exquisiteness as well as unsightliness.  While we may not be perfect, we are perfect for our imperfections because it is those imperfections that make us whole.

Being able to embrace the totality of what is inside, to find out what is working and what is not and make the necessary changes is about progress.  It is about moving ahead, even if it means moving backwards to do so.   We can exist, but do we choose to live?   We can breathe, but how much do we truly give of ourselves so that we can safely say that we have lived?

If it were not for hardships, how would we know the peer joy of celebration?  The sky though without clouds and nothing but sheer silky blue as far as the eye can see is the same sky as when it is filled with stormy weather.   There is more.

It is our choice what it is that we choose to see.  We can hide the black marks, which may be prudent as the world has yet to fully embrace us.  By us I mean that as long as “they” exist in the mind then there will be inferiority, and whenever there is inferiority, there is justification for imbalance and   even harm.    If everyone fully embraced themselves and each other, equally and without perception of division then it would be one step toward seeing one another for the very first time.

Darkness can and is a scary place. It is where the shadows dwell and the underbelly of the subculture roam.  There in the gutter it is scary.  Isn’t it?

Or is it?

When faced with something deemed scary it has been my intention for as long as I can remember to find out for myself.  That comes with an addendum.   For me, scary movies are something that has never been of an interest.  And, I have come to a place where I do not even like violent acts seen depicted through action movies.    It is merely a matter of personal taste.

It is those true life things that people find as scary that I like to investigate for myself.   It must have started in elementary school.   When I remember classmates declaring that we should bomb Russia because they were evil, I wondered aloud whether kids on the other said were saying the same about us.   To me, I doubted that we were that much different from each other and expressed it in a rather amusing way by writing “Russia Rules” all over my shoes.

It was not that I (as a wat maybe a seventh grader) felt what I wrote was in literal terms but more so that I myself wanted to question all that I was hearing.  Whether it be from students, teachers, society, or anyone else I felt it most important to question.

To this day, I feel there are two things critically important to finding one’s own happiness.  One is to question.  Always.    Never stop questioning.    The other is the power of intention.   By being able to verbally declare at any given time one’s intention it is understanding where you are going and why you are going there in the first place.

Whenever I have not accomplished something I truly wanted, I have come to the conclusion that it is not a result of not working hard enough but rather not being fully clear of my intention and not asking the right questions.  Asking better questions is a skill set.   The ones that I respect the most have mastered the skill of asking questions.

One of my favorite pastimes is studying history.   Check out newspapers from a hundred years ago as they are most fascinating.  The same terminology is used.   The same problems exist even if the stories themselves have transformed themselves.    What remains is that no matter the time period there some something out there that was really, really scary.

Some of it is real.   More often than not it is a figment of our imagination.    Especially when it comes to other people as “they” can be deemed scary if we do not get to know them for ourselves. It has led me on my interesting travels.

Musically, when I was in high school heavy metal was considered a scary type of music with the kids listening to it being even scarier. That was what I heard.  That was what I believed.  I saw a poster from Iron Maiden with a skeleton raising a hatchet above his head with the devil infused in the picture and there was no doubt that it was scary.

While spending the night at my friend’s house, the TV was going with an Ozzy Osborne music video playing in the background.  How can anyone listen to that?   I thought.  And, more so, how could anyone sleep to such noise???

Then, as it turns out I was listening to the radio and heard a commercial for a watch company. The song was hauntingly beautiful.    It was so much more than anything I had ever heard.    I called into radio stations asking if they knew what the song was.  No one understood what I was talking about.

Remember what I said about not asking good questions?

Finally, I stumbled upon a friend who not only knew who I was listening to but gave me a cassette tape (remember those) with Black Sabbath and others on it.   What I found was that it was really good.  Not in the least bit scary, and worst of all for my parents sister and neighbors, I really liked it.

Fast forward the tape a bit and now not only is Ozzy Osbourne no longer scary, he is mainstream

The Iron Maiden posters that I found to be so scary hanging on my friend’s wall?    Well, I ended up several years ago having lunch with the drummer.   Ironic how life is.  Isn’t it?

I am also one of the few people who now meditates to heavy metal.

Rewinding to college, I was sitting in psychology when the professor said that people fear public speaking more than anything, even more than death.    The next semester I made sure that I signed up for the next public speaking class.   It may or may not be scary, but I want to find out for myself.

The same is true with religion.  While sitting at home I heard that Muslims were scary.   I had someone tell me that they could not be trusted, and on the radio a preacher proclaiming that if “we do not kill each and every Muslim they will in fact kill us.”

In a round a bout way that led me to visiting the local mosque.  What I realized more than anything is that they were more scared of me than I of them, because of what they had been enduring at the time.   I realized what I have found time and time again more than anything is that people are people.

I do not find the world to be a scary place. I proclaim that I love life more than any person on the planet, so I naturally see the world as a beautiful place. I too meet the most amazing people each and every place and it really does not matter where.  It can be in neighborhoods where friends will say it is scary, but I really enjoy getting to know people for who they are no matter where they are where they came from.

I am not naïve enough to think that aspects of life are not scary.  There are many things that scare the Hell out of me, including people in this world.  History is indicative of that.   The many atrocities that have been committed, is incredibly sad.

Even though there are dark things happening each and every day, I still find a way to see life as beautiful.   When I think someone is scary, once I meet them and get to know them I find that they are pretty much like everyone else, for the most part.

I know that others are exactly the opposite.   When they really get to know someone that is when they find them to be scary, because their beliefs and thought processes may not be coinciding with their own.   That is ok. I get it.

While I cannot speak for anyone else, when someone tells me that they see some of my photography or picture of myself that I have taken and says, “That’s scary” when I am in my place of peace my answer is, “Thank you.”   When someone proclaims, “I don’t like you.”   When in my place of peace my answer is, “Thank you.”    When another says, “I love you” or “I hate you” the answer is still the same.   “Thank you.”

And, I must thank say thank you for this amazing world allowing me to be a part of it.   I enjoy the darkness. I love the black, not only of night, but the purity that is the color.    I am looking to continue to ask questions, and my intention is to investigate for myself each and every day.

Walking my own way, on my own way not afraid to be scared but not scared of the unknown.

Continue reading Darkness, The Philosophy Of

My Future Acceptance Speech

Today I am here, because of every day since. If it were not for each and every day, and each lesson along the way, I would not be here to say that words cannot express the gratitude I have for all of those who have supported me. You mean the world to me.  Thank you.  For those who didn’t.  Thank you.  For every person who ever said, “I love you, you are great”, I thank you.   For every one who said “I hate you, you are nothing”, I thank you.   I love you the same.  And, for everyone who tried saying you “can’t” or you’re “not good enough” or worse than maybe all that – you need to have “realistic expectations”.  I thank you.   My inspiration and my focus comes from all those who not only can but they did, who are not merely good enough but are great, and those living up to their own expectations.  I see so many lovers of life.  I see so many dreamers living out their dreams.  They have brought me to this place where I can look out into the world and without reservation see the beauty that is life, and I am grateful.  Thank you.

Image

Love, The Philosophy Of

Love.   

 The word itself brings immediate connotations, memories, feelings, and emotions.   Love is the cornerstone of music, art, religion, culture, and even some would say life itself.  The expression of love is often believed to be the greatest of all expressions, yet for all this beauty, what then is this thing called love.

Love is infinite in its capacity although how then can it be constrictive and even inclusive at the same time?  Or even reclusive?    If it is love for one, and for all, then what and who is included in all?

It is said that one either sees God in everything, or in nothing.  Can that not be said as being the same with love?   If God is synonymous for love, then one either sees love in everything or in nothing.

All or nothing is a slippery slope.  Absolutes are rigid and unbending.   Life and death are two that indicative of such.  In between these two, the lines become blurred.

That is why there are so many philosophies, ideologies and convictions.

While love is the basic element of religion, the preaching of love differs greatly.  That can be seen if in the elements of God as being representative as a loving God, forgiving God, or punishing God.

If love is universal, or rather, is it universal?   Do we really believe that those having dichotomy opposite viewpoints share the same facility to love? Or is it simply that they have lost their way?

The view of “us and them” puts a layer of separation between.    By creating that difference there then becomes a division.  Throughout the course of history it has been them who has been deemed as not expressing love in the same capacity.

For all the preaching of love, is not human beings who have mastered the ability to hate and manipulate fear to an art form resulting in the destruction of millions of innocent people that is still ongoing and will for the foreseeable future.   The opposite of fear may not be hate but rather fear.  Is it that the world is cruel or rather is that people in the world that are cruel?

By seeing “them” as different, time and time again oppression has been deemed as being for their own good.   Because they do not have the same aptitudes, then it becomes ok.   Thus, fans of fear so easily set the fire of hate ablaze all the while proclaiming it as acts of love.

Love though has a much different configuration looking much like that of kindness, compassion, and empathy.   Without kindness love is hollow.   Without compassion and empathy love’s wings are clipped.   As someone once told me, “It matters not what you believe, as long as you practice kindness.”

Practicing the art of love through the exercise of extreme kindness where could the world be?  Where could we?

 There is no they, only we.

Dalai-Lama-on-Helping-Others

Love.