|Probably around the time I was learning to walk.|
With my Father on a Frozen Lake in Michigan, USA
I have learnt, in retrospect, if you are blessed to have parents from another country than the one you have been given, where they speak another language--learn it. Respect it, honour it and carry it to pass on. I, in my youth, did not do as I have just advised. I did however become more fluent than most in our native language, English. I applied myself to the grammar, the rules, the definitions, the antonyms, the synonyms--everything. Although I am happy I am able to help my folks or my sisters with their grammar/spelling...I wish I had focused more on learning the language of my parents than being a great speaker of English. I am only 25--and I intend to learn it now...but it certainly would have been much easier to have learned it when my mind was more absorbant and my state more pliable. If you do not have parents who speak another language, take it upon yourself to learn another other than your own.
3.) Prayer: I cannot stress to you the power of prayer. I have always said, even if it is not to God or a God of some sort, even if it is to just put your thoughts, your hopes, your needs, out into the Universe...do it. Pray. It humbles you, it strengthens you, it forgives you, it honours, it makes you see, it makes you wise...my friends, it will heal you. Your mind, your heart, your soul, your body. To whomever it is you subscribe to...ask...for the Universe is Able...ask, and you will receive. Pray not only for things you desire...but for things you may need healing from...pray for forgiveness. What a beauty, what a blessing, that forgiving yourself brings...but that is not so easily done. So ask for it. Pray for it.
4.) Truth: I have learnt that it is not only our duty, but our salvation, to speak the truth: always. This is not some sermon from the Bible or some agenda...but it is what I have seen, and experienced in my time here on earth, amongst humans. They say that three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth. It is best that you speak it first...it is true what they say...the truth shall set you free. It is our humanity, it is our beacon...it is all that there is. Truth. We expect it...and we are to give it. You may not sound as cool or people may think differently of you, but you will be the coolest ever when you speak the truth...even if no one knows it. Be LOYAL to those you love...be honest and truthful, even if it means you are going to hurt them...even if it means you are going to hurt you in return....the greatest wound to suffer would be that of a lie...that of untruth.
5.) Speech: Do not put into the air that which is foul. Be kind, great, constructive, uplifting and at times, profound with your words. I am not saying speak always profoundly...but if you can help it, be wise with what you say. I do not say this because I am so wise and always say the right thing...I say this because I have been the opposite. You are responsible for your own words. What comes off your tongue, you put into the air....what you put into the air, just may come to pass....so be mindful of the words you choose. You cannot unsay what you have already said. In my 25 years, I have said some UGLY things....terrible things which I have had to ask much forgiveness for...from those whom I offended, and hardest yet, of myself. When speaking with others, do not simply wait for others to finish what they are saying....truly LISTEN. How can we know to speak if we do not know how to listen? As many things in life that I have found, one thing begets another. Through speech, I have manifested bad things by saying them, by speaking ill...on the FLIP SIDE of that...I have manifested amazing things by speaking amazing, and positive things...it's up to you my friends-- speak well.
6.) Anger: I have learnt and now know that the first victim of your anger will always be your own damn self. You may think you're aiming to hurt another, but you're just hurting yourself. So think first, be slow to speak and slow to anger. Anger devastates all in it's path...in just the blink of an eye, the breath of one word...Anger could have desecrated an entire land of love. Not only does it damage the soul, it is harsh on the body...but it hurts those around you...and for every precious moment we have on this earth, that you spend angry...it is happiness you have just robbed from yourself. For those who try to anger you, it is up to you to let them. As humans, of course, it is highly improbable that you will not be angry when someone aims to offend you or deliberately hurt you, but always weigh your options, because once you also become angry, it has become a fight between the blind...and not a one of you who are angry will come to the light of what is true, of the objective...rather, you will walk blindly in the dark, knowing not what you stumble upon. Remember that to every action, there is a reaction. Their action may cause a reaction from you, but that action that you choose to display, will bear it's fruit...and when it is anger...you will most likely see it is rotten.
I think Maya Angelou said it the best: ". . .People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." So watch what it is you do with Anger, whether it is receiving or outputting-- be sure to rid yourself of it as soon as you can.
7.) Travel: I have learnt in what travel I have done...that you don't need to get stamps in your passport, or drive cross-country...the best way to travel if you are not able to physically travel is to find yourself out of your comfort zone....amongst people, religions, cultures that are unlike yours, and see it, experience it...better yet, find a way to respect it. Accept it. If it is simply not for you, and there is no other way around it, than quietly go on your journey. I cannot stress how important I have found it to try on new glasses, to not just SEE new lands, not just SEE different cultures....but to try to understand it...to live in it. "When in Rome" they say, to "do as the Romans do"...simply because there is a group of people...who do thus. That is not to say to go and join a cult that is into mass suicide. We're talking within reason of course...it is up to YOU to use your own discernment, your own judgement, choose your own journey...for only YOU could decide such a thing.
|Wanderlust. Living in Australia, volunteering at a Camp in NSW|
8.) Co-Dependency vs. Love: I have learnt, through heartache, through triumph...that the only "blurred lines" I would ever sing about...are those of co-dependency, and Love. I have found, in my 25 years, that people are co-dependent....they are ego-centric...they seek to fulfill only themselves...even if that means to give it all to another being--they then call this: Love. This is NOT love. Love is not self-seeking, Love is not possessive, it is not controlling, it is not quick to anger. I have learnt that love is self-less, it is giving, it is forgiving, it is sacrificial, it allows, it accepts, it is patient, it is graceful... Co-dependency is giving yourself completely to another....depending on them for happiness..when they are gone, you are full of sorrow, that is because you have not yet learned LOVE, as it truly is... and that, as everything else in our lives, begins with YOU. Anything you so desire, anything you seek, must start with you. We look for others to do it for us...to love us for us....to make us happy for us....I have learnt that, yet again, only YOU could decide such a thing.
|Where I learnt a great deal of what Love truly is, from this relationship, with this incredible man.|
*Thanksgiving Eve, 2010
9.) Respect: Respect yourself. Honour yourself...you and YOU ALONE....are the only keeper you will ever have over your own body, your own heart and your own soul. Respect that. Respect that by respecting not only yourself but even further, by respecting others. To respect another, is to respect yourself. In turn, to respect yourself, you will no doubt respect others...as you will know and understand the value of what it is to be (and to give) respect. That means to do right, that means to speak the truth, that means to do things that you may not want to do but you do them because it is the right thing to do, because it is the honourable thing to do. Look people in the eyes, and truly LISTEN to them....respect them enough to know that they are human, just like you. Respect it. This my friends, is NOT an easy task..especially being the takers we humans are....but it is a good one. I myself have a long way to go with this rule that I have learnt yet do not always apply.
10.) Teaching and Learning: I have learnt that we are our own teacher, as well as our own pupil. We cannot learn what it is we refuse to open our minds to. Furthermore, if we can learn it, and do learn it...it is only because it has always been there, waiting to be watered. We can be led to water, but we are the only ones who decide to drink or not...Teach yourself, and learn, from yourself.....a whole lot of "only you"'s goin around huh? I see a pattern here...I suppose because in my 25 years I have learnt, I have been taught and then taught myself, learnt and then learned of myself, that it comes down..."to me" ....everything that happens in my life, I have the choice which way to go. I can be swayed one way or the other, but it is of my own doing to put one foot in front of the other in whichever direction that should be. It is up to you what you open (and sometimes close) your mind and your being to. Teach yourself and learn from yourself.
11.) Judgement: I have learnt, at a young age....that there will ALWAYS be people ready to judge you. Especially if you shine so bright; it is a blessing to do so but at times a curse. Do not let the judgement of others dampen your spirit or light. So let it shine before all. People will judge you, hurt you, condemn you, curse you...all these things they will do to you...and all for reasons that have nothing to do with you. I have learnt that what others do to you, is what they do to themselves. What they do to you, is not your concern, because it is not about you, it is about them. The best way to battle that, I have discovered, is to continue on, and to succeed in whatever it is you do. I will never forget the way I was treated when I first moved to Japan, and again, when I came back to Hawaii for my junior year. Those kids were so mean to me...and for NO DAMN reason...and I just kept on kicking ass anyway...and you know what? They played themselves out. People love to hear the sound of their own records...let them play themselves out...it is not up to us to teach others a lesson which life is waiting to teach them already.
|Go forth, and succeed. Let other carry on judging you, but they are not God--so let them judge.|
12.) Punctuality: I have learnt that if it takes you 30 minutes to get somewhere, than you should leave with an hour to get there. It is far better to be 30 minutes early than 1 minute late...and this is because it is a matter of respect. Punctuality builds character, and shows that you are serious, that you mean well...and that you have good form. Again, I don't say this because I am great at punctuality...I say this because I am notoriously late...and though I would love to defend myself and disprove those who say it is highly arrogant to be late....I simply cannot...because what they say is true. For the most part, the reason I found myself tardy was because I was busy worrying about ME and just figured I'd be forgiven for my tardiness. Even if you feel or know you will be forgiven, it doesn't mean you should be late...that is just taking advantage of an already forgiving person or situation. To be late reflects poorly on you...and may cost you respect, it may cost you a job! (It certainly has for me!) Be on time. Again, when you respect others (and their time), you respect yourself.
13.) Society: This one is a tough one... especially in the day and age we live in. Do not be fooled by what you see, what you hear, what you've read....above all things, we are children of the earth. We are NOT a child/a being of a society...we are a being of this planet, occupied by men, who built society. As far as the raw, humanistic reality of homo sapiens....we are mammals...we eat, we shit, we sleep, we decay...what makes us extraordinary, what separates us from other mammals is that we laugh, we cry, we lie, we kill, we deceive, we give, we conquer, we fight, we love, we feel....and no law of man can ever put what it is we are at our very core, into a book, into a label, into one guide line or rule that we are to follow. THIS IS NOT to tell you to do whatever you want and forget society....if you are to live in Society...you are to adhere the rules...just as everyone else...but this IS TO SAY....do not be fooled, bamboozled, swindled, swayed...(etc). Be wise...be aware...do not let Society tell you what is real. Do not let Society tell you that you need to have or be X, Y, & Z by a certain age, by a certain time, or for certain reasons...or that you are to do things this way instead of that way. No wonder our country suffers from depression...because they have been told their whole life what they're SUPPOSED to be...what their life is supposed to be...It's supposed to be whatever it is going to be.
People suffer guilt and feelings of inadequacy because they live their life by the laws of man...by the words of man. But men, although wonderful and honourable, have also proven themselves deceitful and wicked. So call upon a greater power than man. I have been told all my life what to do with MY life...I have been told that I am worthless, I have been told I am a loser, a low-life, a shame, and these were all in conjunction to what I should be according to this Society built by man....but not by God I think. It's not that we are to just do whatever we please, but at the same time, just don't subscribe to what man is selling you...cos there is something so much greater than man, and that something is what you will have to answer to in life. Walk your own path, whatever that unfolds as....
|Me, NOT fulfilling or finishing my college career, and becoming a performer instead|
14.) Pride: I have learnt that Pride truly does come before destruction. Understand that any greatness we have...that we transmit...that we create...comes from the strength of others. It is easy to fall into the comfort of praise for a job well done--but we must always give way to where and how and what we are or have become. We are great because others are great. We are great because God is great. Do not let your pride get the best of you...be proud of yourself, be proud of your work...but do not let it get the best of you, your humility...for there is always more work to do. The work on ourselves, and in our life, is never done...until we depart.
15.) Spirituality: I have learnt that I am in fact NOT an atheist. I am not saying you are wrong if you are...but it must be very very sad and very lonely to believe in nothing higher than yourself. I have been there and I will never go back--I was at the lowest and most depressed point I had ever been to, and therefore by the Grace of all things good and positive and righteous, I was pulled from that darkness. I do believe in nature...and science...but I have experienced one too many things in life that transcend science....that transcend logic and rational...that can only be explained as supernatural. Whomever or whatever you conceive that which we call "God" to be...be humbled by it. Be forever in awe of it...and know just how little you really are...and how grateful we are to be. Whatever or whomever he or she is to you, know that God is good, and God is able. I have learnt that belief makes things real.
|Where I rediscovered my faith in the earth, in God...when I went back home after 5 years,|
16.) Education: Knowledge is power they say. Take advantage of the education you are given--but also go forth, and educate yourself. This coincides with thinking for yourself, with traveling, with experiencing. Academics are great, in fact, if you really want to do yourself a favour in academics and in life, DO YOUR MATH!! But beyond academia, there is an education out there, amongst people, in other lands, in other places, in other situations, that no establishment, no college could ever teach you. If you want to know something, educate yourself, that is: open your mind and your heart to the education of the Universe...that is the best way to learn. Find a mentor if you can, learn from them, and take it further and educate yourself--fill in the blanks, choose to drink the water you have been lead to. Also, read. Read a lot. I have found that reading books passes the time....reading GOOD books, transcends it ;). Go out, discover--via text, and via experience.
17.) Sex: This is to be honoured, to be respected, to be cherished. To give your body to another, is to become one with another. It is not for self-esteem or reassurance. If in sex, this is what you seek, you will not only come out empty handed, but you will come out defeated...you will come out crawling on your hands in knees void of your purity, your integrity. Some people look at sex as a very open and liberating thing, a thing to just give, to receive, to just have on a whim. This may be the truth for some...but I have found that it is so much more than that...and those that feel otherwise perhaps have just never become one with another with whom they were meant to be one with. Sex IS fun... it is exciting...but it doesn't mean we are to be reckless with it.
Sex complicates things between both parties...once that line is crossed...all things become compromised. It becomes a commodity, something to possess, instead of something to share. Some relationships are held together simply because one knows to keep another around means they can have access to sex at anytime...despite the countless fights and disagreements...one may be able to see past it because of the compromise that flesh upon flesh has created. If I can urge you to do one thing for your relationship/s to come...it is to seek all other routes of the relationship...seek all other routes of intimacy, save sex. As far as saving yourself until marriage...I might be stoned for suggesting such a thing and I honestly could not tell you that I will do so with my next partner....but I do urge that you get to KNOW whom you are choosing to invest SO MUCH time in, really know them--become their friend, their partner, their confidant, and if after month/years of a relationship uncompromised, then choose wisely when it is you will give yourself to them. If you just give yourself to another, in HOPES of discovering who they are....you will not find it the way you were meant to...with pure eyes, with pure hearts, with pure intention and direction. Be still young heart, and wait. Respect the process. Respect yourself.
18.) Saying "No.": Of the many many things I have learnt, I want to really drive home the power and the preservation in saying "NO". It is in our nature to want to please...it is EASY to be charmed by men...even women...by people in general..or to feel intimidated, and as if you have no other way out but to agree with what you would normally disagree with. I have learnt, in retrospect, that saying "no" will save you a LOT of heartache. Don't feel bad, don't be afraid....There are a few times in my life I wish I had simply said "no." Understand all words you speak, all choices you make, belong to you, it is within your power, even when you feel defenceless, to stand up and say "No, I will not", "No, I cannot", or just "No." It is not your duty to fulfill others selfish needs, NO, it is not.
19.) Be Present: My friends, all that has made it to this list are so very important....but the importance of being present--what PEACE and JOY I have found within it's grace. We are so easily riddled with the worries of our life...with the things we CANNOT control...with the pass we cannot fix...with the future we cannot see. What a rarity it is that we find ourselves dwelling in the here and now.
As some of you know, I attended a Vipassana retreat...for 10 days I took an oath of noble silence and observed. It was, to this day, one of the hardest things I have ever done. I pray each and every one of you may find your way to this wonderful place of meditation, and there, gather the tools of present living. The tools to discover balance in the soul and the mind. Take an hour each day, and observe....do not force, just simply act and observe. When you find your mind wandering, bring it back to the present. I am sitting in the office of the common room, typing this out to the world-- You are (fill in the blank), and reading this blog. I am not saying it is easy...but the power of being present and the power of meditation...I swear to you, will bring you balance, will bring you peace like no other. To me, it is another form of prayer. And we already know how awesome and humbling prayer is!
|These amazing children, my three little sisters who have also taught me so much about the importance|
of being present. I cherish every moment I get with them...They are so incredible.
20.) Have Fun: I have learnt NOT to take games or sports too seriously. I have been a down-right shitty loser at times...and that just SUCKS. It suuuuucks...not just for you but for EVERYONE. Just because you don't win at games, it doesn't mean you don't win at life. And reversely, just because you win at games, doesn't mean you win at life hahaha. Just have fun...Know your time, and know your place... if it's game time, have fun with it...if it's life time, be serious, get the job done but also try to have fun with it. Laughter TRULY is the best medicine....indulge. Enjoy the company of others, of movies, or music, of things that keep you light. Have it. Play games with your best mates and just enjoy yourself. Don't take the small stuff to seriously man. It's exhausting. Lighten the load, and have fun.
|One of my dearest friends, Brian Marshall...who has written an awesome sauce song titled: |
"Life is Better When You're Having Fun"
*My 22nd Birthday,
21.)Thinking & Reflection: It is easy to listen to others, others we respect, we admire, even those who we may consider enemies...it is easy to let others do our thinking, but we MUST, for our sake, for everyones sake, think for ourselves. Your mind belongs TO YOU, so only YOU can think what it is you need to think. Do not just accept what you hear when you listen to the news, the television, the internet, your friends, your family; Listen to it, but then think upon it...meditate...and think for YOURSELF. Generate your own thoughts...question things that you are told....ponder them. Read a lot, observe a lot, learn a lot and then continue to learn by digesting all you have learnt, by running it through your own thinking filter. Think for yourself, and for YOUR own damn good. Be Self Aware....reflect upon your daily doings....take time always, to self-reflect. Accept when you are wrong...find Joy in the tough lessons you will learn, after much reflection. Although it is hard to admit when we are wrong, or in need of help or forgiveness, be honest with yourself...take an honest moral-inventory and see what you need to get rid of and what you need to stock up on. It's brutal work, but very very rewarding. Opening the third eye--what a gift!!
22.) Practice: When I was given a guitar that I begged for, at the age of 13, I thought I was just going to get it and play anything and everything. Every time I met someone who could play it well, I always asked how...and I was always given the same answer: I practice. AHHHH! I promise you though, it is difficult to be diligent in your practice...in your studies...but it builds SO MUCH character...so much strength...to stretch yourself beyond what it is you're used to doing...what a joyous feeling. I stress this because I myself need to practice more...I myself need an even stronger work ethic. We must always strive to be better; A true student's practice will never stop. It is such a joy to have a skill...no matter what that skill is...to become truly great at something that you have dedicated much time to. Gain a skill, practise much, and thus, perpetually grow.
|When I was just learning to play the guitar,|
This was my first open mic with Liam's (my guitar) new paint job
23.) Technology/Pharmaceuticals: I have found that the less dependent we are on digital technology, mechanic technology, medical technology, the quality of life becomes real. I know that much of the technology we use on a day to day basis is here to increase our quality of life....but I have found it makes us lazy. A simple example....I have many times hand washed my clothes...a much greater feeling after hand-washing them and waiting for them to dry, and then putting it on, than it was to so numbly and almost unawares, throw them in a wash and at the sound of a buzzer, throw them in a dryer and voila! They are clean! Another example...look at the internet today...so many people do not know how to spell anymore--who needs to? We have computers that fix that for us. As for dependency on man-made chemicals--my brethren--I cannot stress enough how amazing nature is...and that all we need has been provided to us. I am not saying these advances in the medical field are not incredible...but sickness..of the body or mind...I feel can either be prevented, or fixed with diet and exercise, prayer and digging deep, reflecting and understanding; I believe this in my soul. I have been depressed, or at least, that was how I understood those feelings...and with enough mind power...enough digging, I was able to release myself of the chains that I had shackled in the first place.
Don't be afraid to depend upon yourself...upon nature to heal you. Know that anything that helps you, will end up crippling you if you do not use it wisely. All remedies are poisons, and poisons, remedies. The Yin and the Yang. Use technology wisely! Yes, yes, use it--It's awesome-- I love it....but be able to function with out. Again, I'm not saying never use Technology or Pharmaceuticals...but...if you can help it...try your best to know how to fix or do things without it first.
24.) Gratefulness: I find it hard to be angry, sad, depressed (etc) when I am busy being grateful. Truly. Count your blessings everyday. Wake up each day and say "THANK YOU for another day." Find your self in complete awe of the numerous things in life to be grateful for and toward. I dunno what else to say on it...speaks for itself. Give thanks. Always, and everyday.
|I have two tattoos that I honestly could be without....but this is certainly not one of them.|
25.) Begin: Whatever it is, do not wait. It is a fool who hesitates. Just do it. And do it now. This is not a race, we're not competing or comparing lives...so at whatever age, if there is something you need to do....the time is NOW! Go forth and prosper!! I have felt the weight of my hesitation, and it is NO fun. Remember that even 5 minutes toward your goal is better than NO minutes. So start...and like we said at the beginning, don't worry about the pace. Just keep on keepin' on.
**I would also like to add: Do not smoke or start smoking, Do not text and drive (ya jerks!), Consider for a verrrrrry long time before you make any alterations to your body (surgery, tattoos, piercings...), DANCE, SING, Stretch, floss, and Smile!!!