Day 55: Talent

In any city I go to in any stretch of the world, I am told that I am a leader. Regardless, if I want this role or not I am starting to embrace this. Most of time, I cave to the feeling of my critics saying that I’m too controlling or I let them get to me on a superficial level. I have excelled at everything I have tried except my first 10 years of trying to get my bachelors degree. Even in Mumbai, I have been put in roles that surprise even myself. Is the fact that I’m not surrendering to who I truly am? When will I stop asking permission to simply be what I was put on this planet to do?

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I found a recording of an April 2015 St. Joseph Community Chorus concert and started listening to it. I had forgotten that I had multiple solos and actually directed a piece from a musical that keeps haunting me, HAIRSPRAY! How did I forget so many accomplishments within this one concert? Probably because I was on a high dosage of Prozac and a sleeping medication. If you have read my blog up to this point, you would know that I blame my taking of antidepressants on the people I surrounded myself with rather than a mental illness itself.

I have done this in many aspects of my life. Graduating college with distinction is clouded by my negative feelings towards the school for trying to close our main gallery right before my senior show. I was the only one in my department to achieve that distinction and, yet, I forget all the time. The was also the time that I won the Drum Major for Justice Award from Missouri Western State College while I was 8,000 miles away. I was protested by the Westboro Baptist church because of my artwork. I got to hug the Shirley Phelps. This was overshadowed by fact that my gay ‘community’ did not come out to support me and what I was trying to say about hate.

I’m saying that I am starting to step into who I am by making anyone feel less than. I am saying that I am unapologetically going to be me without regard of how other’s feel about it or how it makes them feel. Really the people who have tried to stuff me down should be worried. I feel empowered. I know feel like I have purpose. Now, I need to take these talents that I have and figure out what purpose they have all together as a whole.

Instead of waiting for approval from someone, I am finally stepping into this world with my arms wide open without an expectation except for being true to myself. If other people are uncomfortable with that, it’s their problem. I have been shown time and time again that people will do anything to make sure that I don’t get to shine my light. Unfortunately for them, I got rid of my on and off switch. Fortunately for me, I know that I have purpose and I don’t need anyone’s permission to be me.

Day 54: Who am I?

In our Samkhya studies class yesterday, we started to dive more into the question of - Who am I? Although we started the class agreeing that we were consciousness, we ended the class stating that we are Purusha and Prakriti. These words don’t mean anything unless you are in the process of learning the yogic lifestyle and reading the Yoga Sutras. However, our assignment from the beginning has been to ponder the question of who we are.

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On its face, prakriti is where our three gunas live - rajas, tamas and sattva. These three gunas are present in us at all times. The Rajastic part governs anything that is moving, changing or acting. Our Tamas resists and is the opposite to action. Sattva is where harmony and balance lives. None of these can be completely eliminated and, in fact, you need all of them. For example, sleep is part of the Tamas guna and we can all agree that we need sleep.

Purusha is everything that Prakriti is not. Purusha is permanent and is where our intelligence lives. You could even say that Purusha is our intelligence. It was explained in class that our Prakriti 1 & 2 are the hardware and software and the purusha is the charge or power that keeps them running. Without all these terms, the question of who I am still exists.

I can say that my name is Jeremy and that I am 39 years old, but is that who I am? I am my mother and father’s son and I have a brother and a sister. That also doesn’t make up who I am. I am an artist and yoga teacher, but these are things that I do and is not who I am. I am a student of yoga and life that loves to help people. These, again, are things that I do not who I am.

With all this thought about who i am, I have come to realize that it doesn’t matter who i am. I am a person in this world. I am honest, caring and compassionate. However, none of this matters. When I die all that I will leave behind is dust and a very average digital footprint. So, when the next person asks me, “Who are you?” I am going to simply say, “I am Purusha and Prakriti” and walk away.

Day 53: Persistence

I woke up this morning at 5:30am in a bad mood. I had a dream that there was a snake in my bedroom underneath the bed. I was actually afraid of getting out of bed for this reason. I can’t remember now where exactly I was at in my dream but snakes are not a fun thing for me. I woke up feeling the weight of everything I had to get done.

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Normally, I take this challenge in stride but this morning I didn’t want to face the washers and dyers that sometimes work. I didn’t want to do social media posts so that all the spammy accounts can fake like me and then unlike me. I didn’t want to go to breakfast. I didn’t want to do my self practice, breathing or meditation. This morning I was pissed.

I went to bed with such optimism and vision for the week ahead. I am still fighting this urge to say, ‘Today is the day that I am not doing anything.’ I keep getting visits to my website from Washington and Idaho which means that the people that know they have wronged me are now trolling me. In what psycho, messed-up world does that make sense? The truth is that it doesn’t make sense and never will. I have to live with the fact that until I have given complete forgiveness this will never be over.

Is this the reason I woke up in such a crappy mood? Are these people going to keep stalking me digitally? Unfortunately, they have to keep tabs on me because I know the truth. That’s them. Most of the time, I have fun with this because of the level of absurdity. Sometimes, however, it feels like a weight I have to carry around. I don’t trust people and don’t feel that I can open up to people easily since this experience with Wesley Chapman, his wife and previous staff. I opened up about things that I have not told anyone. In a way, I relived my abuse and this fraud used that against me.

Needless to say, today is rough day. I’m going to make it though. I’m going to go to class with the dream of being able to help people. I am going to help myself along the way. I am creating a new life for myself and no one has control over that new life but me. I have to keep telling myself this over and over again to make it all worth it. I will have my freedom back again someday and in that freedom these people will not even exist. Here’s to onward and upward.

Day 52: Easter

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Today is Easter and a news notification came on my phone saying that almost 150 people have died in my favorite getaway spot, Sri Lanka.6 different bomb blasts have completely change the plans on many families’ Easter plans.Many will have to live the rest of their lives without these 150 people.What a sad world we live in these days, no?

Easter celebrates the rising of Christ after his initial death. In America, it widely known for the Easter Bunny. Children wake up to baskets filled with chocolate and toys. Families gather for a meal with ham. How does any of this spark feelings of violence and bomb blasts. It makes me very sad.

Religious wars are nothing new but when are people going to let each other live their own lives and worship whom they wish? It goes back to my belief that everyone is going to have haters. Some people get more harsh of a treatment from their haters. You could be doing all the good in the world and still someone will hate you for it. It is also in the eye of the beholder as to what constitutes as good. We see this in our every day lives also.

In this modern age you would think that humanity would be beyond all of this now but surprising we are still the same. An Easter Holiday spoiled by people that disagree. It makes not a lick of sense but this is the headline for today in many newsfeeds. People dying because of disagreement. When will we live in a world that cherishes all lives regardless of any difference because we all matter and are important?

Day 51: Shameless

As I was watching the final episodes on one of my favorite television shows, Shameless, I was reminded of not feeling guilty if I decide to move away from Missouri.  In the show, Fiona, has what I would call a moment of clarity and hops on a plane to see what life has to offer outside of South Chicago.  She doesn’t leave in a fight with any of her brothers or sisters and leaves with an indifference to her father.  I believe she doesn’t even know where her brother Liam is.

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I have been feeling so heavy regarding my next move because of leaving my family. I have no arguments with my brother and sister and I love my parents very much. I feel to prosper I have to leave my roots and spread my wings over new skies. The show really put into perspective how easy it is to make a choice without the consideration of anything but the best thing for myself.

I have left St Joseph before in my mid-twenties to pursue my dream of going to art school in a huge city, San Francisco, CA. I graduated from the Academy of Art University in 2011 and had my art studio. I was working 3 jobs to make the rent payments for my small room in Little Italy. It was a total dream come true until I got completely burnt out. Being a barista in the morning, an artist by day and a bartender/server by night day in and day out was exhausting.

I had fantastic roommates. A stripper and a co-worker from the coffee shop surprising were the correct equation for co-habitation. We all worked strange hours but everything worked perfectly. Now, I have a boyfriend that I live with fabulously. So, if we did it once shouldn’t we be able to do it again?

Regardless of the outcome, I feel more confident than ever that where we choose to call home after Dec 2019, it will be another experience of learning and growing together. Most of all, I will have made a choice based on how it affects my life and things I want to accomplish. Instead of scared of the choice, I’m now ready and sort of excited to see where life leads us in the coming year. With a world full of exciting places to live, there is no doubt in my mind that there is adventure to be had in my very near future.

Day 50: Goal

I have been very depressing in my writing lately.Honestly, I am depressed.I am depressed that I haven’t made as many things happen as I would have liked to.I haven’t seen all the parts of the world that I want to see.I have been enjoying the feeling of loneliness probably more than I should.It may be possible to go too far inside or perhaps I’ve went inside just enough.

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In our attitude training class today, that talked about our what is a goal, specifically not what my goals are. It reminded me that a goal is what makes life worthwhile not determines my worth. I’ve had days where my goal was to get out of bed because that was as large as my scope of vision was at that point. I’ve had goals such as wanting to become Diplomat of the Year for 2016 in my hometown, St Joseph, MO. I have achieved both and both have turned to be equally as difficult at times.

I have always been a driven individual but never have thought to examine why I have been so competitive in achieving such great things in life. I was drum major of my high school marching band. I graduated college with distinction. I grew a company from 1.2 million to 3.4 million in just two years. How, after all this, do I still feel empty?

I have been making these lofty goals and then crushing them because they were attached to my worth. If I didn’t achieve these goals I would amount to anything or I wouldn’t amount to anything in people’s eyes. I put so much pressure on myself to make sure that I look good. I am not saying that having goals is not important. I am saying, however, achieving your goals or not is not a determining factor in your worth as a person.

We often hear of employee burn out occurring because the employee is undervalued or overvalued. Could it be that people are attaching their achievements to their personal worth? We see this all the time in the housing market with people purchasing well beyond their means just to impress their friends or family or so them that they are worth something. I would imagine that having children would be under these sort of pressures along with marriage.

Day 49: Core

After yesterday’s class, I left feeling like I couldn’t shake my performance during the asana portion.  My mind is constantly defeating me especially when it comes to my stomach area.  I hate my stomach area.  Instead of writing about body image after I get skinny, I wanted to write about it while I’m living with it everyday.  Those feelings of hatred towards myself for letting my body get this way do nothing but deplete the energy I need for practice.  My core is strong - it’s what surrounds it that makes my life difficult.  

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During seated postures, I am constantly sucking in my stomach.  In seated twisting postures, my stomach sticks out and doesn’t allow me to go to the fullest potential of the asana.  Sucking in my stomach so much makes me tired and worn out.  My breath gets heavy and this makes my stomach stick out even further.  Did I mention that I hate my stomach area?   

I look in the mirror and tuck my belly in so that I can see what it would look like if I were to lose about 40 lbs.  Now, I know better than to perform this violence towards myself in my thoughts and in my words but I can’t help but to know what I could look like.  People have said to me that I don’t look like a yoga teacher.  What does a yoga teacher look like?   

I have been eating as a vegetarian (except eggs) for the last two months almost and have dropped some body fat but nothing like when I add supplements to my regimen.  This time I’m taking it off to keep it off for good.  This is not a temporary fix.  This is a lifestyle change.  I researched about going vegan but I don’t see how It would be sustainable during travels and the pressures in United States.  Vegetarianism is almost looked down upon because it is different.  In the Midwest, they can’t even understand the difficulties of being gluten intolerant so I don’t expect such small minds to understand vegetarianism.   

It goes without saying, again, that I can’t stand my stomach area.  I loathe it.  I know that I should accept my body and love my body but it is virtually impossible because at every turn it affects me in some way.  I can look in the mirror and completely love the person I am on the inside.  However, when I start to look at the outside, I am immediately drawn to the stomach region and want to just breakdown and cry.  Even superhero’s have flaws.  My biggest flaw is not being able to love all of me while I am going through this transformation.   

Day 48: Space

During my travels I have learned to let of go of the attachments I place on people.  I have been asked why I am so distant.  I have gone days without a single text message besides the one from my mom that she copy and pastes to her morning texting list.  I have gone months without being asked ‘Are you ok?’  Although this may sound depressing, it has taught me to truly generate happiness from within myself.  

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I would say that I was a person that wasn’t ok until everyone else around me was ok.  I had to stop listening to the gossip that my parents wanted to tell about each other.  I had to clock out of being the person my siblings vented to about each other.  I had to stop trying to rescue every wounded bird I saw in the street.  Not all relationships have been this way but more often than not.  

This need started subsiding as soon as I discovered that I had no idea how to rescue myself.  I couldn’t find a reason to be happy or to be alive anymore.  Still to this day, I have to fight the negative feelings of rejection from my dad and our nonexistent relationship.  I have to fight the jealousy I feel when I think about how close my brother and him are despite all of the stuff my brother has put him through.  I have to constantly remind myself that the worthlessness that I let my dad make me feel is not really my true worth.   

I have to keep looking and searching for a new community after my travel adventures are over because moving back to St Joseph doesn’t feel like the right place for me anymore.  I don’t feel I’ll be able to thrive in a place where politics and who likes who gets you somewhere.  I may be disillusioned that this is not the way that the whole world works but I will keep searching until I find what fulfills me.  If I had a choice I would stay in Mumbai or Southeast Asia forever.  

Today is a melancholy day.  I’m not happy or sad.  I just am.  My leg was injured on Monday after just having a dream  on Sunday about an injury.  The pain I feel is on the outside of my left knee.  It popped while I was trying to get into padmasana and has been in pain since.  I believe the bone popped back in but I’m taking it easy just to be sure.  These days will come just as they will go but it’s times like these that I wish I had a a mentor or guru to guide me.  

Day 47: Time and Presence

Every day of the week has now turned into ‘doing’ something.  I think of time as a countdown.  Some people countdown the hours before they get to get back into bed before they have even started their day.  Many people race to get as many things done as possible before they have to go to sleep.  Many people are in a routine to where they could do their routines with their eyes closed.  None of these approaches are wrong, but I have to wonder about their presence level while performing any tasks.  Do we live to find our routine and do this repeatedly?

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Routines bore me to death.  Doing the same things over and over sounds insanely mundane.  The rajas in my fills an ever ending need to keep doing, keep in action.  When I do find a routine, I feel that if I have missed something that it I can’t go back and do that task.  For example, I used to work out at 6am.  If I missed this time, I would skip working out all together instead of just fitting it in somewhere else in my day.  Admittedly, working out in the afternoon is the best time for my mind and body but morning is the time for it.

In the larger picture, I have a fear of settling down into one things or one routine.  I feel in that I have to always be fluid in all aspects of life.  It may be a matter of feeling free but having a strict schedule is hard to surrender to.  I like to be organized and disorganized at the same time.  Food is something that I have been trying to have a better relationship with lately regarding routines.  

When I arrive home from school at 6:30pm, I have to walk my dogs.  This takes about an hour to wait for them to have some outside time and go to the restroom. I value this time with them as they are sometimes my only interaction in the evenings. My 4 dogs are my children.  They are stubborn sometimes like children regarding going to the restroom.  Therefore, my eating time gets later and later.  I usually let the time dictate what I eat.  Lately, it has been cabbage, pumpkin, a little red onion and mushrooms brought to a boil and then cooled to room temperature.  This is usually around 8 or 8:30pm.  Then, it’s time for bed.

My mind is constantly racing as how I can achieve nutrition requirement without putting in a lot of work.  I’m looking at anything that requires time and presence to be an added part of my life.  Honestly, I don’t know if my new found awareness has attributed to this but questioning what is important.  My time with Doug is important.  My time with my fur babies is important.  Above all is else, taking care of me has been of the upmost importance because if I don’t take the time to take care of me how can I be present when I’m taking care of the rest of the world. 

Day 46: Compassion and Gratitude

Every Monday is embraced with open arms.  Making lists of things to get done throughout the week, jotting down little accomplishments I would like to see happen and taking time out to breathe like it’s a Friday fill my morning hours.  I have been listening to a chill playlists after having to wipe my Mac and start all over so that my iTunes will work again after installing macOS Mojave.  I can’t help but to keep revisiting forgiveness and moving on. 

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My life has been a series of being run over, changing for people that don’t matter and disrespecting myself for trusting these people in the first place.  I can’t forget.  How can I fully forgive?  It is said that saying you are ready to forgive is the first step and forgetting about the very act you are forgiving is the point where you have forgiven that person.  I can say I’m somewhere in the middle.  I’m ready to put in the work but I remember and the trauma starts all over again.  

It feels like my feelings have been put into a mixer, separated and then the mixer gets turned back on.  I refuse for my week to start with negative emotions.  I have meditated, breathed and wrote on this subject numerous times but because this was such a scam and injustice it is hard to let it go.  Selfish people beware that you no longer will hold space in my mind and thoughts.  You will exist along side of me but I will be so detached from you I won’t even feel pity for you.  

I listened to a podcast over the weekend and it’s was sad to hear that the person is going through a tough time but I have long since distrusted what these guys tell you with their hands out.  Eventually, even beggars have to look for something different to do.  They look like beggars but live in fancy houses and have podcast images of their families in a perfect photo.  Sadly, people are so desperate that the photo is all they need to say that they are less than someone else.  Keep doing your meditation on abundance and hear how empty you sound.  

Either way now that I am present to these emotions, I have the choice of how I’m going to react to them.  I can let them stain each new day or I can slowly keep cleaning my thoughts of pity so they are reduced to compassion.  Compassion and gratitude are the words I’m keeping in the forefront of my mind this week.  I am having compassion for those that see no wrong in their actions.  I am having gratitude that they are no long my problem.  

Day 45: Pampering

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After a month and a half of twisting my 39 year old bones and muscles, I spent almost an entire day pampering myself.  I went to the Liquid Sanctuary to float again.  It felt incredible.  Instead of hallucinating like I had done before, I kept waking myself up by snoring loudly.  I can only imagine that they heard my snore all the out in the lobby.  However, the room are soundproof.  

Immediately after, I went to Pet Story to pick up some treat for the dogs.  Then, I headed straight to Shen Reflexology.  I was disappointed that they could only get me in for an hour of foot reflexology compared to the normal 90 minutes I used to but I am excited for them that they are so busy.  It is a really great place if you are in Mumbai to check out for an afternoon of relaxation.  The staff are very nice and the environment is very clean.  The massage room smells like lemongrass and almond.  

I couldn’t tell you if I was in and out of consciousness during the massage but there are parts of it don’t remember.  It is so funny how we trust some environments and not others.  We can fall asleep in a room full of strangers and not think for a minute that something could go horribly wrong.  I guess that’s part of letting go.   

After the massage, I took an Uber back to Powai.  The entire trip only took 35 minute.  This is unheard of.  I enjoyed music and taking photos out the window of the car.  I call these ‘Moving Pictures’.  I hit the shutter button to capture hundreds of these images and then go back in post-shooting to see if I got anything compositionally interesting.  I still have to go back through the photos but for today I’m going to continue to relax with the television off and sit here in silence.   

Silence in a world full of noise is sometimes the best gift you can give yourself.   

Day 44: Solitude

Today has been a day of complete rest and relaxation.  I went to breakfast and took my time with no rush.  I have been having some stomach issues after eat some shrimp last weekend.  Doug has made is back to the US after a long journey of traveling.  Moments of complete quiet are incredibly rare. 

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I didn’t turn on the television until later in the afternoon.  There was no CNN to fall asleep to or to wake up to.  My mind wasn’t slapped with negativity as soon as I woke up this morning and I loved it.  I didn’t have to worry about someone’s coffee intake to be ready for human interaction.  I got to breathe.   

All 4 dogs went outside at the same time and there was no fuss because there were no people at 4:30am.  Teaching my students at 7am was a gift as we extend class as there were no students coming to the 8:15am class.  I enjoy teaching the students that’s come in with a positive attitude willing to learn what I have to offer them.  I stayed at the studio until about 9:30am to sweep and take some pictures for social media.  I have so many things accessible to me that it is overwhelming.   

I took images of me in some simple poses.  The studio gets so hot as the day warms up.  During taking photos, two things consumed my mind.  I hate my stomach area right now.  It is round and sticks out regardless of cutting back on sweets and excessive food.  I started to think about how contradictory it is to share all these photos on social media.  It is also distracting.  With the amount of time it took me to take the photos and make sure the frame was correct, I could have just put in a second practice for myself.

I got the photos taken and then there was a rush of water from an upper floor in an elevator shaft that they are working on.  The flood represented the amount of thoughts I had while taken my social media photos.  I have finally found something within yoga that fulfills my passion of helping people while also filling my cup.  Many people have a preconceived notion of what yoga is or is not.  I can’t wait to return to the states to show people what yoga can be and see transformation in people’s lives.  I felt today that I am stepping more into the people I know I can be. 

Day 43: Fears, Negativity and Anger Pt. 3

After finishing the Life of Shri Yogendra, I can’t help feel but more related Shri Yogendra.  Towards the end of the book he encounters a foe that hinders him creating the space that is now The Yoga Institute.  This hinderance was in spite of him by a different ‘yogi’.  If a man so pure of heart could have enemies, how can I think that I would be exempt from such hatred?  

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While on a different board of our downtown, I got too close for facts again and felt it appropriate to resign from my position.  This board was making decisions behind closed doors without the entire board present.  One member, I remember vividly saying at a meeting, ‘It’s already been decided.’  Another board member had a romantic affair with the Executive Director.  I believe that was the statement that pissed everyone off.  Isn’t it wrong to have your lover creating your job description?   Unfortunately, my hometown operates in this manner.  According the book, this type of behavior is not new nor is it fading anytime soon.

I believe, too, that these two lovers were the ones that helped push the attempted restraining order against me.  The executive director got her nails done at the salon that my friend that stole from me moved to.  Can you tell that I live in a very small town?  While my friend enjoyed Christmas with her stolen goods, I could say goodbye to friends before I left for India.  That still clouds my heart along with the friends that I know have gotten their hair washed in that shampoo bowl.  It’s just wrong.

However, I am trying to conquer all of this by letting it be with at they have to live with. I survived.  I may not be able to community theatre in St Joseph anymore because I spoke the truth.  I will most likely never participate on a board ever again especially in Downtown St Joseph.  My ex-friend has to constantly look over her shoulder and be in hiding with her boyfriend as he is, last I knew, hiding from the law in Connecticut.  Those people know what they did.  They may think about it or they probably don’t.  The fact is people that do harm cling together and it doesn’t affect them at all.  Everyday they are living their lives as I am asking myself why are they still affecting mine.  

Speaking the truth is the most freeing thing you can do.  Unfortunately, speaking the truth these days means paying usually higher consequences than the person spouting lies.  They can live and sleep with knowing that I still, after all this, I don’t hate them.  Even Wesley and, his wife, Jodie, I don’t hate them.  They may hate me because they know that I know the truth and there is nothing they can do about that.  They know that in their mind they did something wrong and, for whatever reason, they don’t want to clean it up.  So, for my Garden Grove, CA reader, I like you too and thank you for being a consistent reporter and reader.  The lies that you tell or cover for no longer keep me up at night and I no longer care if they keep you up either.  I wish you peace for this chapter of my life, through this writing, is now closed.

Day 42: Fears, Negativity and Anger Pt. 2

Now, while the theatre organization was not the first and only group to completely mess with my mind and screw me over, I did learn a lesson in all of the drama and back-and-forth that happened. It was a whole game of hear say, people taking sides and people staying completely out of it so that they could at least do community theatre regardless of its corrupt board members and supporting patrons.  In my mind, I was doing what was right.

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I thought that opening a non-profit that would actually help people instead of just funding a person’s job.  The opening of the non-profit was personally painful because it was to memorialize my friend, Chris Griffey.  He died by suicide in Washington, DC.  He worked with youth and was pillar in his local community.  To me, Griffey was everything that bravery and courage stood for. 

I opened the organization on the weekend of the Apple Blossom Parade knowing that this would be the prefect exposure that I would need to pilot the programming.  We had people in the space all day doing children’s workshops, adult workshops and an art opening. The space was well received within the business community and the nonprofit sector of St. Joseph.  Everything was fine until I had to rely on friends to make sure that programming happened and social groups didn’t turn into a space where adults vented to minors.  It all started to unravel.  This was when I started taking antidepressants and sleeping aides to just survive. 

I knew I had a made a mistake the moment I was having to rally people to help on something that supposedly the community needed and wanted.  Many friends that benefited from that space never made a single monetary contribution to the success of the organization.  Even when the discussion of dissolving the organization started people didn’t realize that when I was gone the funding would have to come from somewhere.  I had friends that wanted to use the space to benefit themselves monetarily.  The space was opened to counter that way of think.  I wanted to open an organization that was worried about funding programming for the community rather than worry about funding someone’s salary.  It was a mess and I lost all of these people as friends.  It was negative.  It was dark.   

Now, I can see where I grew from this.  I can see where it made me a stronger person.  I had a friend lease part of the space for her hairstylist business and she stole from me.  When I simply asked when I would receive my money, she tried to get a restraining order against me.  I had lost all of my supposed friends and now I was made out to be a violent criminal.  She knew that this would mess with my ability to work with kids and would stay on my record.  This was a complete dick move.  Her Casenet file shows that she owes a local realtor money probably from not paying rent.  I deal with the confusion and anger still to this day about where our friendship went wrong.  The act of screwing me over seems to repeat itself over and over with different faces.

To be continued... 

Day 41: How am I Trying to Conquer my Fears, Negativity, Anger, etc?

During my public speaking class, I am supposed to give a 2 minute talk on the topic above.  I thought that it would be good practice to start here since it is a little bit of exposing myself, my stories and my insights to the entire world.  This is my space to be vulnerable with the world, share my thoughts regardless of popularity and, hopefully, connect with people and help them through similar situations or see a different perspective.  The change starts within me and through that I hope to help change the world.

While I love and enjoy theatre, having the attention on me completely is absolutely terrifying.  My sole motivation in doing this is to help bring to light an issue or highlight things that, in the conservative world, are brushed under the rug.  This is exactly why I feel it is important to share these issues and be courageous in doing so.  Shows like RENT and HAIRSPRAY brought issues of race, homosexuality and social injustice to the masses.  These shows were sang repeatedly on road trips, during painting studio time and listened to anytime I had headphones in.

During the summer of 2014, I had the opportunity to direct HAIRSPRAY.  I was appointed by a previous director that had been let go from the organization, Robidoux Resident Theatre.  I was also on the board of this organization.  Many of the conservatives didn’t participate in these shows calling them, ‘Heavy’.  I took on the role of Director and Music Director.  I was not paid for both positions.  This was my first disagreement with the organization.  I had a vision of letting new talent shine during this time since I was abandoned by the original people who filled these roles.   

Not only was I treated horribly, I believe that the leadership in this organization had plans to sabotage the entire performance.  The prop mistress called the show, ‘not RRT’s proudest moment’ after throwing a lamp shade at my stage manager.  They also insisted that I make cuts to the show without going through the proper channels of the rights holders.  Now, I don’t expect them to respect rights laws as they completely ripped off A Little Mermaid by completing the score from YouTube which takes a tremendous talent but illegal all the same.   

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This was my first lesson in politics.  I came with a true love of theatre and the space that it creates for people to fall in love with theatre too.  I stayed on the board thinking I was protecting community theatre as a whole.  I was eventually let go from the board because of having to miss a meeting for a visitation of a family member that had died.  The president at the time told the newspaper that the organization was following the bylaws as they were written and that the other two people had resigned prior.  I asked for documents in a legal way and was denied them.

Regardless of standing up for what was right, I was villainized and burned bridges with all arts organizations in my community.  These actions still affect my ability to get opportunities today because I didn’t fall in line and keep my mouth shut.  After all this, I still didn’t give up.  I opened my own non-profit arts organization, The Griffey School for the Arts.  The executive director of our community arts organization never came to say hi or see what what was going on.  A volunteer told me once that she told them that I would never receive anything from Allied Arts as long as she was there.  It didn’t stop me.

What did I learn in all this?  That no matter how big your Goliath, never give up on what is right.  Never let politics be the reason for your silence.  How am I trying to conquer fear, anger, thoughts of negativity?  I have to let it all go for the most part.  There are still emotions that hurt because of my love for the theatre and the arts but I have learned that the world I thought I lived in is not the real world.  People don’t want truth, they want convenience and access.    

If this is not the world that I want, then I have to fight a battle before I even get to the door.  I have to create my own space of honesty and likemindedness.  People call that controlling or whatever but it is vision that makes dreams come true.  My fears start to fade when I look at these past experiences because I have nothing to fear or lose.  I have distanced myself from most people I associated with several years ago not because I hate them or have any negative feelings towards them but because I have different dreams.  Just like them, I’m still figuring it out.  I don’t have all the answers but I know what is wrong and not for me.  That in itself is conquering fears.   

To be continued...

Day 40: River

In class yesterday, our teacher said, ‘When a river stays within its banks, it’s doing its duty.  However, when a river breeches it’s banks or levees, it destroys.’  I can’t help but think about how many people’s lives have been changed recently by the floods of the Missouri back home.  Mainly in Nebraska, people have lost homes, livestock and their livelihoods.  If the river would have stayed in its banks, none of these people would be going through this hardship right now.

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When we apply this metaphor to our own lives, it gives a sense that we should stay in our own lane.  Perhaps we should mind our own business and let others do what they will.  Placing this in the context of our duty, we have to think about what our duty is.  Our duty to ourself, family, work, society and to our soul should be given the utmost importance above anything else.  In the modern sense, our duty is our bae.

Is your duty to make your husband’s tea every hour and a half?  Is your duty to be a servant in your household?  Is your duty to make babies and raise them to be a positive addition to this world?  Is your duty to just exist?  The only person that can answer that question is you.  However, you don’t need to search very far for it because you could be doing your duty just by reading this post.

I used to think that my duty was to help people with mental illness and thoughts of suicide.  I opened a non-profit and had a storefront and everything.  After a while, I learned that was not my duty.  My duty now is to be available but not get involved in people’s issues.  I can’t help but reference again that I was the guy with the glass that was half-full but there was nothing in the glass at all.  This reminds me a lot of the metaphor regarding the river.  I was flowing out of my own banks and did more damage than good.   

Although I didn’t lose a house or any livestock, I lost friends and look at that time as a very dark time in my life.  I could blame people.  I could blame circumstance.  However, I won’t.  I blame myself for not staying in my river banks flowing naturally down the stream.  Rivers flow but also destroy. 

Day 39: Back to the Grind

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It’s Monday!  That means getting this week started and for some it means doing the same thing over the next 5 days so that we can do nothing for 2 days.  Is this really how we live our lives?  Work, eat sleep and repeat over and over.  This life of monotony sounds terrifying to me.

This week Doug leaves for several weeks and I plan on making changes to my diet by doing a fast and cleanse.  I have a book that I am going to try to follow and if needed I will have my friend Reema help me.  Some of the ingredients I have not heard of before.   I am deeply dissatisfied with my body shape and weight.  I feel that what I’m putting in my body keeps putting me in dips of depression.  

Although, mostly what I have been putting in my body is completely good and clean, I recently celebrated a birthday so cake was involved.  (A lot of cake.  Thanks, Ronson and Mom!)  It is remarkable to have cut sugars so muchthat when I have had an abundance of it, I notice a difference in my mood.  Now that the birthday feasting on sweets is over, the focus of healthy eating is on the horizon.  As I sit through my anatomy class, it becomes confusing as to what is good and what is bad for you anymore.  I am listening to my body and it is not very happy.  

Are Monday’s a dreaded day or a day to be excited about?  Ultimately Monday’s are my favorite days.  I feel most motivated on Monday’s as this is the day that sets the week.  You can create all of your intentions and goals on this day.  You can even try something new to see how it works until the following Monday.  You can add that one thing in that you have been wanting to do.  I love Monday’s! 

Celebrate your Monday because it is a rebirth.  If you have a hard time getting into celebrating every morning for the simple fact that you woke up, then Monday is the perfect way to start.  You get the opportunity to start a new week however you want.  Switch things around.  Eat veggies for breakfast.  Do some sit-ups to start sweating first thing in the morning.  I’m starting with food being my focus this week.  I am going to start being present to what I am putting in my body.  This time next week, I hope I can look at myself and celebrate a goal being squashed.  

Day 38: Hours in a Day

On Sundays, I am always restless.  It is a day to rest but it is also a day to get so much stuff done.  It is usually turns out to be a day where I ge to hang out with Doug doing some sort of massage and watching television.  It has recently turned into a day where I turn off my brain and just simply rest.  

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During the week, I feel like I need about 4 more hours in the day to get more done.  I have stressed  heavily on getting the proper amount of rest so that I am not depriving myself of sleep.  I do this for myself but my motivation has also been my students.   I would hate to be the first interaction someone has and it not be an inspiring or motivational one.  This also motivates me to be this person everyday.

I have been cooking food that is healthy or ordering food online that is health conscious.  There is a trend right now in Mumbai for these delivery only places that sell delicious simple food.  This allows for me to get more done in the day since I’m not in the kitchen cooking.  I love cooking and I like having the control of how much oil and salt goes into my food.  It brings peace of mind too to know that I have washed the vegetables properly before cooking.

I want to be able to read more books and gain more knowledge.  In its place I have not been even turning on my television in the evening after I return home from class.  When I say television, I don’t mean benge watching a favorite Netflix show but more like turning on the news for background.  The news makes me restless.  It causes so much negativity in my mind regarding politics mostly.  It’s a sad corrupt world but sitting in front of the television listening to reports does nothing to solve the problem.so, I have opted to turn the television off as of late.

I know in my heart of hearts that I can’t do anything to change the amount of hours in the day, but I can choose how I fill those hours up.  I think it’s a common misconception to want to cram all the things we are learning our lives right now but it is important to be reminded that change take a lot of time.  Your commitment to change is just one water droplet on the stone.  It takes years to create the groove.  I am reminded while writing this that I need to enjoy the ride.  

Day 37: Pain

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My body is often yelling at me to stop with all the physical activity.  I have been much more active lately than normal and my asana practice is being challenged constantly.  Standing and sitting on a marble floor is not the best surface for your bones but I have been doing this for a while now.  When I talk about pain, I am not talking about over dramatic pain but instead talking about that pain that feels like progress. 

Starting a couple weeks ago, I noticed my legs having pain much like the ‘growing pains’ I had a child.  The pain shoots down your legs, goes into the bone structure of the knees and all the way down to the ankle.  It’s part muscle pain and part bones pain as I am twisting my bones too.  My mind goes many places.  It reminds me that I’m almost 40, I’m over weight and other negative things.  I’m listening through a filter.  

Another painful place is my abdomin.  I have become a vegetarian fairly recently and have made valiant efforts to change my eating habits.  I hate my midsection.  This is causing me insecurity but what else can I do to change this.  The gym will make my asana practice more difficult as the gym tenses my muscles up and there is very little time for the gym.  I wake up at 4:45am and start working and stop at 9:30pm.   

At this point, I need a dietician to help me.  I have also been reading on what my body type should and shouldn’t eat.  I am a Pitta/Kulpa body type with Pitta being dominate.  I just learned that Yerbe Mate is not good for my body type.  So, now that I have the discipline to not eat an entire chocolate cake in one sitting I have to limit my foods even further.  It all causes pain in my brain. 

i need to remind myself that all this pain is voluntary and that it will take some pain to my huge changes.  I went to Sri Lanka not too long ago and was told that I don’t look like a yoga teacher.  My first reaction was to ask what a yoga teacher looks like.  However, I don’t look the heaviest as I don’t feel the healthiest.  In any case my body is changing and the fat is crying and bones are getting used to being completely active again.   

Day 36: Rough

I keep revisiting memories of being hurt this past week.  I try to be with these emotions but they end up taking over me in a way where I want to cry and be pissed off at the same time.  I am litterally sitting in class for 4 hours a day that preaches letting go.  The harder I am trying to let these emotions go the more angry and sad I get.  It doesn’t make me feel any better but I have resorted to chocolate. 

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I posted on my Facebook account, “You are enough.”  The Truth of this is that sometimes you won’t be enough to some people and other times you’ll be too much.  All of those opinions people have don’t matter.  You are enough in this world regardless of other’s opinions.  Hell, I have people that feel it is completely justified to make stuff up about me regardless of my constant self-inflicted need to make myself a better person every single day.

I think of my dad in a lot of this. I can’t remember the last time I was randomly asked how I am or if I’m doing ok. I have so many emotions of hurt because I no longer feel like my parent’s son, my sister or brother’s brother or an uncle to any of my nephews or niece.  Actually, no one in my family asks me how I’m doing.  No one FaceTimes with me regardless of the fact that they all have the capability.  This bothers me to the core but there is nothing that can be done.  

I think about a friend and all the stories she probably has to tell about me to make herself feel better.  I think about a shampoo bowl that is still legally mine sitting in a salon left by the person who stole it from me.  I think about a guy in Newport, WA and how sad it must be that he has to constantly look over his shoulder.  I think about a guy that sits behind an iMac with a glass of vodka and cranberry with nothing better to do with his life than to speak horrribly about me.  I think about a different hairstylist that constantly lies about me and because of jealousy is no longer my friend.  I think about a father that has called his son a faggot for wearing a necklace.

All these things, I have to let them go.  They are not pleasant emotions so I am happy to do so.  I am happy to know that these emotions will pass.  In all of this, I can see one positive.  I am present to these emotions and where these emotions are coming from.  Before, I would have just been angry or pissed off for ‘no reason’.  Being present to these emotions is helping me to identify triggers and helping the emotions that they bring not be so vibrant.  For now, I’m breathing in and out very slow learning the practice of letting these emotions go.