Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You are beautiful.

I've got a big, round nose, and it's perfect.
I love it.
Fleckled with faint freckles, that blend with a bland palette.
Fair skin and soft curves,
and pink lips untouched by fake color.
They're perfect. I love them.
A crooked tooth and a complexion that's not smooth.
A smile that smudges the cheeks to my hair,
curly, unruly--like the girl in the shell.
Thank God for my eyes.
They're incapable of lying.
A straight shot
to that gentle heart of gold,
that won't quit trying.

It's so easy to believe you aren't beautiful. At least for me. There's a delicate mental balance.
Treat your body right and with respect, and you will love yourself no matter what. One day at a time. Love your body and your self as you love others. If you can't find beauty in the flaws of other humans, you will never find the true beauty of your own 'flaws.' Love others and love yourself. You are beautiful. Stay human.
Peace & love.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Faith In Humanity.

On the car ride home last weekend I was pretty quiet and pensive, but in a good way. My brother was quiet too. We killed the time by randomly asking eachother, "What are you thinking about?" when it got quiet for too long. It was kind of refreshing and honest.
At one point I replied to him, "I think people should do what they want." I think. Mostly. Because I believe people are inherently good. I believe people know somewhere deep in their hearts and minds what 'good' is, how to do good in the world, and ultimately that doing good brings joy into their lives. In the end, people want joy for the long-term. So if people want joy, then people should do what they want. One of my favorite quotes by Abraham Lincoln--"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion." Just do what you believe to be good. As long as you are honest.
When I do as I want, my mind is clear. I am in a present frame of mind. I act. I speak honestly. I am happy. Those around me are happy. blah blah blah blah blah.
When I do not as I want, I am sad. My mind is riddled with worries of the past and future. I underachieve. I try to please people despite my needs, which then ends in displeasure to those people whom I was trying to please. And it might end well in the short-term, but I think we can only lie to ourselves for so long a time until it takes a toll on us. I think when you act, it must root from an honest place or else it will not bring you genuine joy. (Disclaimer: sometimes we do not always know from where we act, and I believe that is okay as long as you learn later).

After explaining all that to my brother, he said something that struck me. "You place too much faith in people."
How much faith is too much faith? I think the world's people could do with a little more faith in themselves and others. I had a grade school teacher that started all of his classes by saying something along the lines of 'you all have my respect until you do something to lose it.' When someone puts that much faith in you, the average person tends to live up to it. When someone has no faith in you, the average person will live down to it. Not having faith in someone is like saying, "I don't think you are good enough." And when you have such a defeatist attitude, why should anyone want to even try to prove you wrong if not out of stubbornness? I got better shit to do than waste my time trying to convince someone I'm good enough for them.
Sure, I've gotten into a lot of trouble with my faith in humanity. I've been hurt before. I've looked like a fool before. I've been embarrassed before. And I hope to continue on that path, because my faith in humanity has also brought a lot of beautiful, incredible people into my life--great people that have taught me lessons and helped me grow into myself.

"Every flower got a right to be bloomin'
Stay human
All the freaky people make the beauty of the world."
--Michael Franti....You simply must listen to this song

I guess for now I'm pretty content bein freaky. It's a beautiful world out there with lots of people that are all beautiful in their own ways. Every flower's got a right to be bloomin, every human's got a right to be human. If you are interested in real stories of real people, I find The Moth podcast to be really refreshing. It brings me back down to Earth every morning over coffee.

Stay human. You are enough in my eyes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Day At a Time

I recently had a groundbreaking 'revelation' in my realization that life should be lived one day at a time. One day at a time, one moment at a time, one stage at a time, one something at a time. Pick a time frame appropriate for the task at hand. I have been acutely aware of the wandering of my mind from present to past to future, and so I have been better able to control that wandering. I have been able to lead my mind to pleasant and present thoughts. Dwelling in the past often brings me thoughts of embarrassment or wishful thinking to change things already done; and dreaming of the future often brings me unnecessarily anxious thoughts of anticipation or fear or whatever. All of those emotions based in past and future I find to be generally unpleasant ones as they are typically falsified by embellishment of the creative imagination. I prefer truth in life, generally--if you can find beauty and joy in truth as opposed to bleak sadness or other emotions. I don't need to falsify life's happenings.
By living in a present time frame, I find my happiness has been much more constant and steady. I have fewer ups and downs, and definitely less downs. When I do live in the past or future, I do so with some sense of awareness. I am cautious when I think outside the present moment. Living in the present has led me to take action. Actions really do speak louder than words (more on this in my next post). I spend more time really doing what I want, and doing what I want typically brings me happiness. You can have all the brains in the world, but it's what you do with them that matters.
So know what you want, and do what you want. It's okay to not always know what you want though. If you don't know what you want, make your time frame smaller. If you don't know what you want for your career, focus on what you want for the year ahead. If you don't know what your goals are for the year, limit yourself to thinking about what you want for the month or what you want for one day. Do this for each activity in your life--your career, your projects, your weight loss, your thinking. Just choose a time frame that feels doable and appropriate. If its not doable, you won't do it. Duh. Eventually, you will live in the moment and see clearly all the choices before you at every second. When you are aware of those choices, you are better able to act in a way that will bring you happiness.

"I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor." --D.H. Lawrence

Here is a webpage with some quotes I like about past, present, and future.

Now quit thinking about this crap and go shred some oranges! One day at a time.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happiness--A Sometimes Not So Simple Task.

"We choose the path we take but sometimes the path can change. The East becomes the West, the North becomes the South, the normal becomes the abnormal, and the fantasy becomes reality."

Early this week a very dear lady asked me, "How do you maintain a constant state of happiness?" I chuckled to myself and very simply replied, "I don't." I am not in the business of perpetual happiness. I am in the business of life. I see no reason to be unhappy, but sometimes there is so much more to experiencing life than reason alone. Sometimes, emotion trumps reason. And I'm okay with that. To the very dear lady, I went on to explain my statement with what shaped up quite nicely into my unofficial pseudo-guidelines for experiencing life:

(1) Every action is the result of a choice.
Every move I make is the direct result of a personal choice. These choices can be acted upon sub-consciously or consciously, but my actions are the results of choice-making either way. One must live with the choices one makes; so choose wisely, for a future spent looking back is not a happy future. To live consciously is to act with awareness. To act with awareness is to live in the moment.
(2) Live in the present.
When you live consciously and act with awareness, you release yourself of your past and future. A mind occupied by thoughts outside of the present moment is a cluttered mind. Your best can not come from a multi-tasking mind. When you live in the past, you live with regrets. When you live in the future, you live with worry. Neither regret nor worry can bring happiness. The present presents you with choices that determine your future, and happiness is a choice.
(3) When in doubt, respond to life with logic and reason.
If for some reason you become lost in life, and you find you can not live with the choices you have made, take action so that your future may be different from your unhappy present. Should you find the thought of your life unbearable, try a different lifestyle on for size. Any new or atypical action is a step away from your momentary circumstances and a step toward happiness.
(4) Love.
When one is able to love and accept oneself, one is better able to love others; and to love others creates an exquisite natural and self-perpetuating high. Giving love to others brings love and positivity into your life. The more you give, the more you get. Feeding on that positive energy creates more positive energy upon which others may feed.

I've learned in the last six months that life can be lived as fast or slow as you want it to be lived. You can play by the rules or you can break them. You can sit passively or you can stand actively. You can use your mind, or you can depend on the minds of others. Bottom line, actively participate in your life; make choices that have consequences with which you can live happily. And when you lose sight of that--which, we all do--do something about it. All hope can never be lost. Never is it too late to turn your circumstances around. Tonight I dealt with some demons. I used logic to forgive myself and free my soul at last of some past regrets. I acted.

The Task of Happiness
If I have faltered more or less
In my great task of happiness;
If I have moved among my race
And shown no glorious morning face;
If beams from happy human eyes
Have moved me not: if morning skies,
Books, and my food, and summer rain
Knocked on my sullen heart in vain:--
Lord, Thy most pointed pleasure take
And stab my spirit broad awake;
Or, Lord, if too obdurate I,
Choose Thou, before that spirit die,
A piercing pain, a killing sin,
And to my dead heart run them in!
--Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, July 4, 2011


I am flipping through Colleen Baldrica's book, Tree Spirited Woman. It's sort of like every other book on "spiritual awakenings" and all that inspirational self-help jazz, but this is geared more toward women to make it just that much cheesier. Anyway, it's just a small booklet, which I find handy and easy in my fast-paced life this summer. It's not big enough to feel daunting. It's just the right size to keep my brain turning on a slow moment.
This morning I read a section about relationships. It made me smile to think of all the new relationships I formed this last school year, and how all my previous relationships changed so dramatically too. Good god. I experienced an abundance of awkward moments this last year--all of which are streaming through my mind in great detail at the moment.

It's funny when you allow yourself to step outside your mind and consider what may be going on in the minds of those around you. I know that I am not at all static, and I am incredibly dynamic. I get into trouble though when I assume that those around me are static. People change. People change on a long-term scale over the course of years, and people change on a very short-term scale. What upsets a friend one day may not bother them at all the next day. And then the next day the very same thing might infuriate them. It's all a matter of what has been going on in their life up to those moments. And unless you are foolishly forgetting to live your life, you cannot be expected to live and understand the lives of others in an attempt to gauge their reactions. Live for yourself. Tread lightly in the lives of others and understand those around you are always changing.

On that note, I especially love looking at relationships I've shared for more than a few years. Some people I used to hate I now consider great friends, and I think of them fondly. Some I loved dearly years ago I am now not so close with. Some I hardly knew at all years ago I am now intrigued by. I have changed. They have changed. I guess I will have to wait and see how these same relationships change in five more years.

No matter what the dynamics of each relationship in my life, you can bet I love them all. Every relationship serves a purpose and fulfills different human needs. Each one is unique and has its own dynamics. You may learn from it, or the person on the other end may learn from it. A relationship is a relationship. Foster each of your relationships in a way best-suited to that relationship.

Life's Mirror

There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,

There are souls that are pure and true;

Then give to the world the best you have,

And the best will come back to you.

Give love, and love to your life will flow,

A strength in your utmost need;

Have faith, and a score of hearts will show

Their faith in your word and deed.

For life is the mirror of king and slave;

'Tis just what we are and do;

Then give to the world the best you have,

And the best will come back to you.

--Madeline Bridges

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Thoughts 2

Just being happy is a fine thing to do;
Looking on the bright side rather than the blue;
Sad or sunny musing
Is largely in the choosing,
And just being happy is brave work and true.

Just being happy helps other souls along;
Their burdens may be heavy and they not strong;
And your own sky will lighten,
If other skies you brighten
By just being happy with a heart full of song.

--Ripley D. Saunders.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I am not everyone. And everyone is not me.


He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men, and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty, or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.
--Bessie A. Stanley.

Just the other day I had a breakdown. Between waking at 5:00 in the morning to prepare three pack meals and organize my life, then biking an hour to my 8:00 a.m. class to slosh around in wetlands and fens and retrieve soil cores, then biking an hour to my place of employment to stand on my feet and greet customers for 8 straight hours as though I was the happiest most awake person in the world, and then biking another hour back home after closing until 9:30 at night--well, it was more than enough to wear me out after a full week of that.

Of course I called my lovely cousin. We think very much alike. It's very easy for me to be put back in a positive mindset with her help. After our discussion, I realized I had been comparing myself to 'people' all week long.

So a little background. Our car broke down before this week, and my brother's bike was in the shop. Given our drastically different schedules, he needed the car. And I was happy to bike, as I had been biking pretty regularly already anyway, although I was far too out of shape to push my body as hard as I did this week. But here's what really killed me: as I grew more exhausted, I began to convince myself that I was weak if I couldn't complete class and work and life as well and as happily as before that week. I convinced myself that placing foolish demands on my body made me a stronger and better human being. Stronger and better than what?! Stronger and better than others. I was comparing myself. And when I finally did break down, to my brother I calmly said this:
I just feel so weak, because I have so much and I am sitting here crying about it. There are people in the world that can't even get a job with good pay or even a job at all. They have to feed their starving family. And they have to pay rent. And they have to walk or ride a rickety bicycle to fetch dirty, polluted drinking water. I, however, have a great job I really enjoy, have no mouth to feed but my own, am living for free in a lakeside cabin, and have a great little bicycle that gets me to class so that I may have an education. And what am I doing? Crying. I just feel like such a weak human being.

My cousin caught me red-handed when I said that to her. I was directly comparing myself to the rest of the world. I forgot that "I am not everyone. And everyone is not me." I am myself. And to act or think as anyone other than yourself is a waste of energy. I don't like wasting energy. I like being efficient. My best is my best. My body is my body. And I forgot to treat my body and my mind with respect and care. My cousin reminded me that all these wonderful things I have are tools I can use to help all those with so little in the world. It was foolish of me to think that I was any less of a person for having so much. What is foolish, however, is having luxury and not using it to leave the world a better place--not using it to leave "the world better than he found it."

So today I'm well-rested and feeling much better. I am going to remind myself when I get too tired, that sometimes it is okay to be a little late to class and to give only 90% at work. And if my peers, professors, coworkers, and employers don't understand my situation, I will have to accept that. I can only do my best from day to day.

And I close with another poem:
I find earth not gray but rosy,
Heaven not grim but fair of hue,
Do I stoop? I pluck a posy.
Do I stand and stare? All's blue.
--Robert Browning

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Thoughts--A Lovely Gift.

Tonight my 'sister' gave me a gift. It was a small booklet titled Happy Thoughts collected by Everett Thornton Brown. The first poem is a stunningly perfect representation of my day today.

It was only a glad "Good morning!"
As she passed along the way,
But it spread the morning's glory
Over the livelong day.

Today--most days for that matter--I was feeling exceptionally chipper. At my job in a very busy retail store, I was working the checkout. Each time I greeted a customer, they seemed to cheer up a bit. It is as though we humans get lost in the monotony of daily life, and to have someone genuinely recognize your existence with just a simple "Good morning!" can be quite pleasant.
Numerous times throughout the day I received some very heartwarming compliments from customers and coworkers. Happiness can be contagious. Simply be joyous, and share your joy with others. Greet people with a genuine "Good morning!" instead of a fake and lazy "Oh man am I tired!"
And if you just plain don't feel happy or joyous, try faking it for a couple minutes. Once you set a smile upon someone's face, it will inevitably bring out joy in you.

I had a great discussion with my father tonight. He quite passionately agreed with my statement "there's just no reason to be unhappy in life." At this moment in time, I believe we all have two choices: be happy, or be the opposite of happy. Make a choice and live with it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happiness & Beauty

What is beauty anyway? I find it interesting when one rebels against what they might consider the 'status quo' among human beings--stick-thin magazine models, for example. Of course, such air-brushed beings are far from the norm. But I think some people can look at such media and find an easy release or outlet of their stress by criticizing what they irrationally claim to be a norm. Can you admit this for yourself? Have you not ever looked at your favorite actor/actress and compared yourself? If you honestly never have, then please let me know, for I am confident we could have a wonderful and lengthy discussion in which I would find great delight. Such a comparison often results in either a criticism of that person or a shoulder pat for yourself. I shall not claim that either action is good and/or bad, but I am wondering if either action could bring anyone long-term jump-up-and-down sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs happiness. I think, at this moment in time, that such comparison could never bring anyone true happiness.
Is a skinny model with smooth skin wearing the latest in fashion beautiful? Is she beauty?
If you are thinking, 'hell no,' or 'hell yes,' then I am curious what leads you to believe she is or is not beautiful.
Is a sixteen-year-old tattooed young man beautiful? Is he beauty?
If you are thinking, 'hell no,' or 'hell yes,' then I am curious what leads you to believe he is or is not beautiful.
Is an overweight peer with an occasional blemish wearing hand-me-downs from her mother beautiful? Is she beauty?
I am curious
If you are thinking, 'hell no,' or 'hell yes,' then I am curious what leads you to believe he is or is not beautiful. My answer? Well I cannot know if either of my three examples is beautiful. "Beautiful" is a tough word. I still have no definition that satisfies me. I think all people are beautiful, and all people are ugly.

Once upon a time I struggled with accepting my body. I was a very unhappy soul inside. I used to look at models in magazines; and, instead of proactively making changes to improve my health, I very inactively hated all the skinny little models in the world. To me they were all ugly, and I was beautiful because I supposedly 'loved myself for who I was.' Well that's a load of kaphlooey. I didn't really love myself for who I was at that time in my life. I only said so because it seemed easier to point fingers away from myself at the time. As it turns out, I was only making things harder.
I foolishly claimed to love myself while hating others. That brought me no happiness. I didn't want others judging my weight, so I judged others for their weight. What a silly concept.

Judgement and comparison do not bring me happiness. This I know.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

(sigh) Oh Loneliness.

Oh Loneliness. Thank goodness I've learned how to deal with you.

A week away at the cottage is always nice. Even a visit from the parents! But it's been over a week now, and I'm darn excited for my summer class to start this coming Monday. I've been busying myself with upkeep of the berms and other oddball tasks, but I should be finishing the berms this afternoon. And then tomorrow I will finish scrubbing down the patio furniture. Once that is done, my checklist will be complete.

It hasn't been hard work. I have all the time in the world. So far I've enjoyed my down time quietly. But it hit me earlier how bored I am picking twigs out of berm rocks. Even a long bike ride isn't doing it for me. So it is time for Hayley to get inspired. As soon as I hit "Publish Post," I will be changing hiking boots to sandals. I am going to read a good book in the sun on the edge of the dock until I feel like doing berms again.

I am not sure I would call it loneliness due to the negative connotation, but I guess that's what it really is. Now I am aware of when I become lonely, and I take action to embrace the loneliness in a positive light. Dolce far niente- 'the sweetness of doing nothing' in Italian. And so sweet this nothingness shall be. Sunscreen here I come!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Be Yourself--you owe it to the people around you.

So It's been almost a year since I returned from Bolivia and quite an experience. Today I took the last final exam of my first year at college. I've faced this last year of living in the states as a challenge, and I think I've met it well. A year in Bolivia opened my eyes to a new me, and I spent this year developing that new me. The most important thing I have come to believe is that happiness is good, and I want it in my life. Sure, I tend to worry people when I sit on the floor laughing at nothing, but I am ultimately happy most of the time--and that suits me just fine.
This year I have started using my brain more and my heart less--or, rather, I've found a happy balance between the two. I think a lot--probably too much. And I've become a lot quieter.
Anyway, I've been waiting to write my first post of this blog. And, after some recent events, I finally found some worthy starting material. Here goes:

Lesson learned: Be yourself--you owe it not only to yourself, but also to everyone that comes in contact with you.

The following is a letter I recently wrote to a few people in my life that I trust with anything:
I think in my life, though I can't really know, I could be faced with a big decision. And whatever decision I make is a decision I may always change at any moment, so there is nothing final about it. But it just feels like a big decision. I have one big decision, and two choices/options to take:

I have the choice to open up to people past a certain point, and I have the choice to NOT open up to people past a certain point.

I think for the last 20 years, I have chosen to NOT connect with people past a certain point. And now I am faced with the realization that if I ever want to experience love or anything new, I have to do some things I have been unwilling to do so far in my life. I would have to open myself entirely to another's judgement. And I think recently I learned how fucking terrifying that is for me. And the fact that it terrifies me tells me that I need to work on it, because it is unlike me to be so terrified. I brave the storm and deal with my demons typically.
So back to my choice. Do I open up and accept judgement? I spent the last 20 years married to myself and my thoughts. I try to live without judging people, and I try to love people that judge me. I am not saying I do a good job, but I try and I believe my efforts are done with a sound heart and mind. In my efforts to live a peaceful, calm life, I have become very slow-paced and relaxed in my daily decision-making. I have become very thoughtful. I have become very calm. I have also become very very happy. I smile soooooo much and find joy in so many trivial things. I've been very happy. And I haven't often been very sad or mad. AND THAT WORRIES ME NOW.
In opposition to Brene Brown, I believed that I can be very happy while simultaneously numbing sadness. Until now, I thought I had managed to do just that. But now I realize I have done so at a cost--at the cost of opening up entirely to anyone. And I imagine there must be GREAT joy to be had in doing such a thing--along with great sadness. So in a round about way, there exists the chance that I have truly been numbing myself of happiness in my unwillingness to experience opening up to someone....and I think that chance is probably very very likely.
So I now see an opportunity, and I get to gamble. I can choose to open up, and risk experiencing the emotions of misery and sadness and hardship while simultaneously experiencing total happiness and joy and beauty. In a way, it would be like divorcing myself and my thoughts--divorcing myself in an attempt to experience something outside of my perfect little box. And experiences are all I ever claim to want in the first place!
I can also choose to remain the same--to continue a quiet, slow life of peace. And I definitely like my life right now. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't be living this way. But now I see choices. And curiosity has me wondering.
I received some great feedback and positive thoughts after that email. And I've spent some time thinking about it. I realized that I made a big deal out of nothing--something I tend to do quite often. :) But from that thinking I realized that I was not being myself with someone. And that was silly. Not only did I make things awkward for myself, but I really made things confusing and awkward for that someone--and that is an unkind and rude thing to do. I wasn't living life as I preach it.
So for now, I am trying to be myself. It is my right for myself, and my duty to others. I am in control of my life. I can say yes. I can say no. I have choices. And I intend to exercise my right to make those choices now.

I'm really such a silly girl. But I'm happy. Go forth and be yourselves!