Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What I Think Love Is

Loving someone isn't about giving yourself to them. It's not about sacrifice or need. Loving someone is not about making them happy at your own cost or expecting them to provide you with happiness. Loving someone is about sharing your warmth and happiness and helping them find their own.

Love is genuinely wanting someone to enjoy everything to the fullest without any expectations or selfishness. Loving someone is not about understanding their every thought and intention, it's about respecting and sympathizing with the ones you don't understand.

Love is not about fixing or saving someone and it's not about giving them happiness. Love is helping someone realize they never needed to be fixed to begin with and that their happiness is within them and not something that needs to be given by someone else. It's not about providing for each other, it's about providing for yourselves and being a source of positivity for each other.

Loving someone is not about becoming whole, it's knowing that you are already whole and sharing everything within you with another person. Love is about loving someone unconditionally and wanting them to know they are loved and important regardless of whether or not they feel the same way. It's about wholeheartedly wanting someone to be happy with zero expectation of anything in return. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Meditation Changed My Perception of the Universe

     I've been seeing all these posts on Tumblr about how we are made of the same stuff the universe is made of. Basically, they seem like they're supposed to make you feel special because you're made of stars and that seems pretty magical. It's like, "Wow, I'm made of stars. Me and the universe are the same. I'm important and I sparkle." That's how it seemed to me at first and it seemed like a weird way to make people feel important in the world, which is cool and great if it makes someone feel special, but I just didn't get it. It made a little bit of sense to say that matter is never destroyed or created so all the matter in the universe is what made us but that's still difficult to graspI'm clearly human and made of skin and bones and muscle and fat while the universe is made of planets and giant balls of fire and black holes and gasses and light or who even knows what. So how could I have anything in common with the universe? How can you compare one single human being to the entirety of the INFINITE UNIVERSE? It's just a crazy comparison to make that really boggles my mind.  

     Then one day, I found a guided meditation on Youtube after searching through at least 5 before I found one without distracting background sounds and with a voice that didn't annoy me. I really like meditating and I try to do it as often as I can because it helps me calm my anxiety and release a lot of tension, plus it helps me sleep a lot easier and better. This one started out fairly normal with some breathing direction. A big part of it was imagining a small ball rolling along your body and massaging away any tension or pain which was different but I liked it. The thing about meditation that I really love is that I become so aware of my entire body all at once that I can't really even differentiate between a feeling in my foot and a feeling in my arm. I'll lay there with a hand resting across my stomach and go to adjust it and be utterly confused at the feeling on the skin of my stomach because I know that I just felt my hand move across my stomach, yet I can't even tell where my stomach is or where I felt it. It's the craziest thing. I feel like I become part of wherever I am. It's almost as if I'm actually a part of my bed and my bedroom and my blankets and my pillow (because I always meditate in bed before I go to sleep).  

     I don't remember exactly at what point the meditation took a turn and I don't even remember how long it was. It could've been ten minutes, but it also could've been an hour. I ended up falling asleep before I finished it (which usually happens) so I don't even know how long I meditated for. Eventually, though, the voice started telling me to picture the universe. It said to picture my ceiling opening up to reveal the night sky with the moon and all the stars and imagine that I am up there. Picturing the universe is like, well it's basically just trying to picture the universe. There's nothing you can compare it to because it's insane. How do you picture the universe? It goes on forever, it's full of stuff that we'll never see or even know exists. But I pictured the universe anyway. It told me to imagine I'm traveling through the universe, going through the stars, passing galaxies and planets and suns. This is pretty weird to do when your only idea of what the universe looks like is from looking at the sky at night and seeing movies set in space. My imagination totally took over and I felt like I was really out in space and exploring parts of the universe and existence that I could never possibly see.  

     The thing that makes meditation so crazy to me is that it's kind of like dreaming. That's the best way I can describe it. I lay there with my eyes closed and my brain and my imagination take over my visuals because all I'm looking at is the darkness of the back of my eyelids while I'm thinking about my the expanding and contracting of my lungs or the blood pumping from my heart through my body or traveling through the universe. So I see everything vividly like in a dream and it feels completely real. I get to see these wonderful things and it's the sort of stuff you see in dreams that seems really crazy and you can't explain it and you know it's not possible, except you're awake and just in a really calmed state of consciousness. It's like the voice guiding the meditation tells me what to think about, I think about it, and my brain just shows it to me. It's almost like a lucid dream. I know it's not real and that I'm really laying in bed and that what I'm seeing is not at all true, yet it's real to me and I can interact with it however I want.  

     If you think about it, it is real. Just because it's not what's in front of you when your eyes are open, doesn't have to mean it's not real. Or just because someone else can't see the same thing, doesn't mean it's not real. Your whole life and your whole reality is basically just what you sense. Whatever you see and feel is your experience within the universe. If you see something different or from a different perspective as someone else, it doesn't mean that one of you is wrong. Neither of you are seeing the "real" thing and neither of you are seeing something that isn't "real." Whatever you see or feel is real even if it doesn't exist to someone else. The way I see it, your perception is your reality and everyone has a different perception, so everyone has a different reality. We all live within one same universe but we also all live within our own universes (which I guess is basically just your life) with our own ideas and perceptions of the universe, if that makes any sense at all. Every person has a unique perception and reality, and everyone's realities (lives) collide with each other and overlap in certain places, yet no two people could ever possibly have the same reality or the same life. 

     Okay, back to the guided meditation that led me to all this. So I was seeing the universe, right? And let me just be clear that no matter how far fetched and crazy this might sound, I was not on drugs at the time of this meditation and I am not on drugs as I am writing this, I promise. I've never done psychedelics or anything that would alter my state of mind to make me think I am in outer space. Meditation is just crazy stuff. Anyway, so I was seeing the universe for the first time ever from somewhere other than the ground on planet Earth. That's insane already because it's totally not possible for me to do that, yet my brain and my eyes were totally convinced that I was. At the same time, I was in a completely calmed state of mind, aware of my entire body. I was equally aware of my big toe touching my next toe as I was of my chest rising and falling or my head resting on my pillow. All of a sudden, the voice in the meditation tells me to picture that I am the universe. It says to picture that I am no longer a human in a body, but rather that I am the infinite universe. You don't have to tell me how crazy that sounds. Just become the universe, just picture that you are the ever-expanding, infinite universe and all it's galaxies and black holes and who knows what else is out there millions and billions of light years away. So I did. Because in that meditative, totally calmed and open state of mind, it didn't seem like an outrageous request. Just become the universe. Okay, if you say so.  

     Obviously, I am a human. I am not the entire universe. I am a very small human on a very small planet in a small solar system in a small galaxy in the gigantic, never ending universe. Yet somehow, as I pictured the universe and I pictured that I was the universe, it was almost like my body floated away. I was no longer aware of the feeling of my toes touching or my chest rising and falling or my head on my pillow. I felt like I went on forever and I had no real form or shape. I felt literally nothing at all. I pictured that I was the universe and I expanded in every direction and I went on forever and ever and ever. So this is what I saw. My eyes were closed but as I thought about it and pictured it, my brain easily provided my visuals and made it real, creating this new reality right in front of me and all around me, except there was really no "me." I wasn't just picturing it, I was seeing it. My reality became the universe. I had no sense of my life or my body or any other thoughts or feelings. Everything I ever knew or felt just kind of floated away and I forgot that it had ever existed to begin with.  

     Eventually, I fell asleep before the end of the meditation. Then I woke up in the morning thinking, "I became the universe. I am the universe," and was definitely aware of how outrageous that seemed. I woke up with a totally different perspective about the world and the more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense until just now, when I could finally put it in words (sort of). Even just writing about and trying to picture what I saw and felt is almost like experiencing it again. Almost. It's mind blowing to even think about it and to see my whole world and my whole reality in a totally different perspective. Right now, I'm in my bed with my laptop on my thighs. I have a knitted blanket around my shoulders and even though I'm looking at my laptop screen and can feel my fingers typing on the keyboard, I can see the walls of my room, the orange sheets underneath me and the light coming from the desk lamp on my dresser. This is my reality at the moment. For all I know, the entire universe might not even exist outside of the confines of the room I am currently in. But as soon as I walk out the door to the kitchen or leave the apartment to take a walk, my reality will expand to those places. Everywhere I go and everything I experience expands my reality to another place or another point of view. While our universe is supposedly expanding, so are each of our realities and there's never any possible endpoint.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Truth About Feminism

Feminism is the advocating the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes and promoting gender equality in society. Feminism is not misandry, which is hatred toward men or women wanting power over men in society. These are two terms that I believe have been widely confused by men and women. Society sees "feminism" as a dirty word that has no real value or purpose that was created by angry women. In reality, feminism is an equally important movement for men and women. It not only helps to create more opportunity and equality for women, but it understands the importance of fixing men's issues in society alongside women's. 
Feminism aims to improve the equality between men and women in the job world, in the social world, and in the political world. It aims to empower women to prove that we are capable of accomplishing anything that a man can and that men and women deserve the same respect, while also improving the lives of men rather than condemning them for the actions and beliefs of misogynists. 
Feminism aims to destroy gender stereotypes and roles, allowing women to enjoy sports without being seen as less knowledgeable or allowing men to enjoy knitting without being seen as less of a man. Feminists want men and women to chose their own roles in relationships as well as in life, allowing a man to be a stay at home parent without being looked down on for not being the breadwinner or allowing a woman to hold a high position in a career without being condemned for not staying at home with her children or for not having children at all. Its goal is to end the stereotypes that women must stay in the kitchen cooking and cleaning while the men are out making money and allow every man and woman the chance to do whatever they please within relationships and in the world without criticism from society. 
Destroying the gender roles that have been engrained in society would create more career, social, and political opportunities for both men and women. If women were no longer expected to stay at home or were no longer seen as sexual objects, the jobs that are specifically aimed at attractive women (cocktail waitressing, sexual roles in tv and film, etc) would be opened up to men and more women would be willing to venture into the job world if the opportunities were based on skill rather than gender or attractiveness. The wage gap (which does actually exist and is especially obvious in Hollywood, despite the doubt that is created by the numerous and sometimes difficult to understand factors) could be closed and allow women to work the same jobs for the same amounts of money without trying to take anything away from the men. 
Politics would be able to be opened up for women to be better represented by another woman who understands their experiences and help make informed decisions on women's issues. In the social world, men would no longer have to be the ones to pay for bars and clubs while women are allowed in for free and dating would become more of an equal effort from men and women. 
Feminism aims to destroy the idea that men must be aggressive and strong and controlling in order to be "real" men and the idea that women must be nurturing and sweet and complacent in order to be a "real" woman. Feminism wants to break down the expectations that society holds on men to be masculine and tough all the time. It wants men to be able to speak out about domestic violence from a woman or being sexually assaulted without being seen as weak or just being brushed aside as if it doesn't happen. It wants to acknowledge that, although it happens less often, women can and do rape and abuse men. 
Feminism wants society to stop portraying men as animals that have no control over their sexual urges and stop assuming that women always want sexual attention simply because of the way they dress. It is trying to destroy the idea that sexual assault and harassment toward women is simply a result of "boys being boys" because good men deserve more credit than being generalized as animalistic, sexually out of control beings. It wants both men and women to not become victims of blaming and scrutiny for speaking about sexual attacks that have happened to them. 
Feminism wants all people to be listened to and understood when they choose to come out about assaults so that they can have justice for what they've endured, whether it is a man or a woman. Feminism doesn't assume that all men are evil and misogynistic, but rather that men can be and are good and should not all be condemned for the actions of male rapists and abusers.

Feminism's goal is to create a society where men are taught that expressing their feelings does not make them less of a man and where women are taught that they are strong too. It wants a society where men are no longer taught that "crying is for girls" so that they can actually communicate their feelings and problems and have more successful relationships with women throughout their lives. It wants a society where men aren't expected to to always be the moneymaker of a family and women are able to provide for themselves without expecting a man's support. Feminism wants a society where a woman is seen as an individual before she is seen as a sexual being or a baby maker and where a man and woman can be seen equally as parents and treated fairly in parental or custodial issues.

Feminism is about creating a world of equality, free of prejudice, judgment, or hatred between the sexes.

Read this on the Huffington Post here

Saturday, February 21, 2015

How It Feel To Have A Panic Attack

How can you explain to someone that you feel like you might be dying or stuck in a panic forever without sounding completely crazy and having it make some actual sense? It's hard to know exactly what you need when you're having a panic attack, and sometimes it's hard to even accept that you're having one. So in attempt to help people understand what happens during a panic attack (although it differs from person to person), this is the best explanation I've come up with so far:
It's like being engulfed by everything around you, one at a time.
It's like one by one, each and every stimulus around you takes over your mind and body. One by one, a sound or a feeling or a visual will become so engulfing that that one stimulus becomes your entire reality. That one thing becomes every thought that goes through your mind and every physical and emotional feeling you have.
Music seeps in through your ears and gets stuck pounding inside your brain, up against your forehead and against the walls of your seemingly hollow yet incredibly weighted down body. Voices and conversations invade your thoughts and echo themselves over any other thoughts.
Every space condenses itself so small that you become paralyzed inside it. Every space becomes the wrong space to be in and every second the feeling of needing to escape but not knowing where to escape to only worsens.
You can practically see yourself being trapped there as if it's not yourself.
Shaking spreads from your fingers to your toes until your legs wobble so much you can hardly stand. Your chest pounds and your stomach knots until you think you'll either vomit or explode. Tunnels cloud your vision until you can no longer focus or see. Your head feels light, like it's going to float away or fall right off. Your lungs suddenly shrink to half the size and can barely hold enough oxygen to keep you conscious.
Thoughts of being stuck that way forever overpower any rational thought. You don't understand why or how it's happening, but you're sure that there are no possible scenarios where it ends.
You're sure that you're stuck with an insane panic in your body and in your mind forever.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Artists I've Found Through Tumblr

     I spend a lot of time on Tumblr doing pretty much nothing, but one of the main reasons I do is because I follow so many different art blogs. I'm always stumbling across all sorts of great and weird art and inspiration so these are some of my favorite ones at the moment that I think are definitely worth looking at.

These are really interesting because they're photos of alcohol through microscopes. Every different kind of alcohol looks different and they're almost like crazy abstract paintings.

Julie Sarloutte
This is a really cool portrait made of embroidery and it's so, so impressive.

Cheuk Lun Lo
This is one of my favorite photography series right now. It's a bunch of people's shampooed heads but when I first saw them, I thought they were some sort of abstract design or something.

Reedus Germanotta
This guy's work is a little bit difficult to explain but I'll try. It's basically photos with moving parts, almost like gifs. You have to look for yourself because they're completely different from anything I've seen.

Klaus Kampert
I love this photographer A LOT. He does all sorts of abstract photos of people's bodies and makes them look like something else completely. One of my favorite projects on this website is the one called Porcelain and it's amazing.

Elicia Edijanto
All this work is a combination of drawing and paintings and they're like black and white silhouettes of nature and animals and they're way, way cool.

Danny Ivan
This guy is a graphic artist and he makes all sorts of really abstract colorful things and they're beautiful.

Gesine Marwedel
This German dude is seriously awesome. He takes these incredible photos of people's painted bodies to look like animals and landscapes.