Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gimme gimme that high ten

Okay, so it's somewhat well-known now that one of my goals in life is to inspire others. I decided to look up and see if there's any sites or articles that help explain how one can spread optimism. Turns out, there are none. Well at least none that I could find. So I decided to wing it and create a list or How-To of my own, right here.

How to Be Optimistic and Spread Your Optimism

1. It all really starts with you. How can you expect to have an influence on others if you yourself cannot embrace optimism? So whether it's just appreciating the fact you're alive, or trying not to view every day as potential for ruin, you must welcome some shred of optimism into everyday thinking. What you emanate to the universe, you get back. If you think negatively, your life will most likely continue being negative.

2. Show appreciation for those around you. Meaning the people you see everyday working at your local supermarket, the man/woman behind the counter at the store, or really, just anyone you see who usually wouldn't get the time of day. By showing appreciation, I mean a sincere "Hello", "please" and "thank you". It could be exactly what that person needs!

3. Smile. People underestimate a sincere smile. I have this whole anecdote about a girl in my school who randomly gave me the nicest smile, even though we had never spoken, and how it was refreshing compared to the other glaring or blank faces.
Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. " - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4. Inspire it in your friends and/or family. They're the ones you spend most of your time with anyway. It would help if you were all on the same page. If they hesitate to embrace it, don't let it discourage you. Continue in being positive and eventually it may rub off on them without their knowing it.

5. Tell others why you appreciate them. You can write one (or all) of your friends a letter, telling them only of their positive qualities. You can also just tell them in person. It doesn't matter. It's the greatest gift and maybe they'll do it in return. But it's always nice to know why people are grateful for your friendship.

6. Go out and make a difference. This usually means volunteering, or sort of community service. Preferably something in which you profit nothing but the satisfaction of helping others. It could even mean offering to babysit without pay, because the person may need it.

7. Have hope. Not everyone will appreciate or understand the idea of optimism. This doesn't mean you should give up. Having hope means risking pain, but to risk nothing at all and settling on negativity is truly more painful.

I think people have a misguided view of optimists. That they're all happy-go-lucky, and all they want to do is shove their preachy-ness down your throat and/or into your mind, and they don't know what real pain is. Optimism acknowledges negative situations, but chooses to not succumb to the negative effects of those situations. One great optimist, who I've mentioned, is Lance Armstrong. Do you think he lacks the knowledge of what real pain is?

8. Find your own optimistic person to think of when you find yourself far down a negative road. When I feel hopeless, I say to myself, "If Lance Armstrong can beat multiple cancers and break the world record of consecutive TdF wins, there is NO reason I can't..." You get the point.
Lance Armstrong is a great person to use because no matter what, he will always be the man who defied his death sentence and achieved ridicilous accomplishments. It makes your problems seem a bit trivial. Just watch this - For whenever you feel like quitting. haha.

I don't know what else I could put. If I think of anything else, I will come back and add it in. Or perhaps people will have a few suggestions.

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending" - Maria Robinson

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gimme gimme that low dough

I find myself facing a lot of questions and contradictions. Some smaller than others.

Is music really what I want to do? Am I ready to put my whole heart and soul into it?

What exactly defines a friend? A best friend? Are there certain expectations you should have for them?

What really is our purpose, as a people? What is love, and is it our reason for being? What significance do our souls hold, if they exist?

Jason Mraz recently wrote in a post about how people, especially writers, should approach philosophy as a cafeteria, in which we can pick and choose different items every day. And while it's not the most reassuring thing, it's what I do. It's what I've always kind of done, but I've finally realized it and accepted it.

My deepest and most basic philosophy is that the glass is half-full. That love is what surrounds us, and what we must welcome into our lives. And it is everything else that I pick apart and decide to believe or not believe, such as ideas of God, souls, soul-mates, definitions of friendship etc.

So it's really the first two questions that I must still answer. Deep in my heart, I know I want to pursue music. I'm just scared, which is why those questions are still there. Hmm. I don't know.

Right now, if I could be anywhere, I would be in California. Given a whole globes-worth of places to choose, California may not be original but.. oh well. I would be on the beach in California, staring at the sunset. Whether or not I'm by myself, I'm not sure. I do feel quite isolated in my own thoughts right now, but I feel as if I need to share every last one of them, though I don't know where or who I'd start with. But just the general idea of that beach seems amazing.

New York City may be my heart's home but California would be its escape

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gimme gimme that high five

Other than a huge but temporary mental breakdown on Tuesday, my days remain uneventful. Well, not uneventful per se but nothing worth mentioning happens.

I was going to sleep, but decided to check Facebook, and now here I am: bored, yet extremely awake.

Okay, well, I'm almost officially a holder of a Jason Mraz concert ticket for August 9thhhhh. After the sacrifice of the Bob Dylan concert, and the realization that I was never getting that John Legend ticket, my mom offered to buy it for my birthday, which is exactly a week after the show.

Hah, my mind is like pacing back and forth for things to say.

I guess I'll just go on this one musing and end it there. Most of the time, you will probably be your worst enemy. But that doesn't mean you can't be generally optimistic. Embracing optimism doesn't mean you're happy-go-lucky 24/7. It doesn't mean you're constantly preaching, like I've sorta been.

Optimism isn't the absence of worries or doubts, but rather the acknowledgment of those doubts, and in turn choosing not to let those doubts conquer you.

Make a mental note of that, I just thought of it. Haha.

Something interesting that I tried- Imagine your ideal life. Imagine everything about it. Where you live, who you live with, what you do. Visualize it for 15 minutes. Do this once a week and gradually work towards achieving everything in your visualization. I did this once so far (a few hours ago), but I feel like it's working so well already. Haha. Well, it's making me optimistic and seeing that visualization as realistic. It sounds cheesy but it's like a subconscious plan.

That's all I have for now. I need food

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Today, for the first time in my life, I cried tears of joy.

I decided to watch a mini documentary called Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. It was.. incredible, to say the least. It was an hour long special of Michael J. Fox traveling across the world, seeing how people maintain optimism. One person he spoke with was Lance Armstrong, notorious for battling 4 types of cancer and coming back to win the Tour de France seven times. And as a recent watcher of the TDF, I can say that it wouldn't shock me to see him win again, after a three year absence. I don't want to talk about the whole special, though. If you have TLC, I strongly recommend it. It's going to be on again tonight at 11 and tomorrow at 9pm, I believe.

Other than that, I have nothing of importance to say. The rest of my day was ridiculously uneventful.

So what's the moral of this blog? If Lance Armstrong and Michael J. Fox can embody optimism through their serious illnesses
, and a country such as Bhutan can maintain peace and happiness successfully for a hundred years as a whole people, there is no reason you too, can't have faith. You are the only thing stopping yourself from being happy. I cannot put it more simply.

"If you're worried about falling off the bike, you’d never get on." - Lance Armstrong

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A day of accomplishments

Ah, 'tis indeed a joyous day! And why, might you inquire? Well I spent the whole day playing guitar. I'm actually exaggerating. I spent 95% of the day playing guitar (I do get hungry)

I finally got a real hang of bar chords. It's not like I'd been practicing them, I was just able to do them all of a sudden. Which is very similar to when I finally was able to switch between basic chords. It took me forever until I just did it one day. Anywho, this accomplishment allowed me to finally perfect I'm Yours by Jason Mraz and the guitar version of Ordinary People by John Legend that's been circulating YouTube.

Then in experimenting with bar chords and my capo, I unintentionally stumbled upon an interesting sound. And from there I went on to creating a full song. And yes, I do have those two songs from before, but today's song is such an improvement in that it's not as simple. I don't have lyrics yet. Maybe I'll work on that tomorrow.

This is exhilarating, though. Maybe I've finally stumbled upon that musical quality in me that I knew I had but had never reached. Maybe me becoming a musician isn't completely insane anymore! Haha.

But what I'm getting at is, maybe the things you least expect to accomplish aren't so far-fetched. I've had my guitar for 5 years, and struggled in teaching myself to play it, until one day I picked it up again and within a few months I was making more progress than I had in a lifetime. So, NEVER SAY NEVER. And don't give up. And have faith. And take risks. And any other disgustingly cliche phrase you can think of to go along with it.

And no, I don't think I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here. Haha. That is all. Love and faith, people.

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible" - Walt Disney

Friday, July 17, 2009

I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me, guaranteed

About a week ago, I discovered that the reason for my crappy short-term memory is a vitamin B12 deficiency, common in vegetarians and vegans. I felt like I had been granted the key to life, or at least an opportunity to stop losing my train of thought in the middle of a sentence. And apparently it can also cause weakness (no wonder I couldn't do more sit ups in gym), depression, anemia, and eventually can lead to psychosis. I thought that last bit was interesting. So just remember this the next time an insanely radical vegetarian gets in your face: They're on the verge of mental deterioration due to a lack of B12! Don't criticize, sympathize. Haha.

It rained again today, proving to be a great opportunity to write. I actually combined two melodies I came up with a few months ago with lyrics I wrote today. That brings my number of complete songs to 2. I felt pretty cool. Until I saw this:

How do you beat a guy who writes a song on a tree?!

That's all I have to say for today.

I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I'll die like a poet. " - Bob Dylan

P.S. Here's a question to think about: Why do feet smell and noses run?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don't threaten me with love, baby. Let's just go walking in the rain.

This moment -right here, right now- is absolute bliss.

It's pouring beautifully outside, and I enjoy it with my very own rainy day routine. First off, I usually hate turning on the main light in my room because it's too bright and feels too artificial. If it's too dark outside, I only really use my desk lamp, which gives the room just enough light. And when it rains, I particularly enforce this rule. I also have a rainy day playlist on my iTunes, which happens to be playing Billie Holiday at this particular moment. It also consists of some very early Bob Dylan, songs from the Across the Universe soundtrack, Jack Johnson, the more acoustic songs of Jason Mraz, the more slow-tempo songs of Miles Davis, and the Moonlight Sonata. And I listen to this combination of rain and music in the middle of my floor in my comfiest PJs. And most of the time, in no more than about ten minutes, I'm inspired to write. I would like to have my very own snack to go with this ritual but the only food you'll consistently find in my house is polish bread.

Anywho, I think everyone should have some sort of rainy day routine, even if it's just a playlist, because it makes thunderstorms more wonderful than depressing.

"Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now

Today was a pretty good day I suppose. I didn't fall asleep until 5am so I woke up late.

The only significant thing I did today was go to the library. Again. Yesterday I got The Dharma Bums (I sort of rushed through it last time), The Everything Guide to Understanding Philosophy, and Music Composition for Dummies. Hah. Today I got The Audacity of Hope by the one and only Barack Obama.

I'm particularly excited about the philosophy book. First off, I challenge anyone of you to pick up an 18th century philosophy book that spends 50 pages talking about the complexities of mere being and perceiving yourself as being. It is mind numbingly hard, and I cannot fathom writing something like that. But yeah, the book I got obviously makes it easy to understand the general ideas of history's philosophers.

Thank God I've been able to read lately. I can either spend weeks reading like 20 books or I am unable to touch a book at all. After I read my library books and Fight Club, I'm setting out to get Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia by Rob Brezsny. His podcasts are insanely uplifting.

That's his website.

Oh, and Deb has proclaimed herself to be my agent, and apparently I need to stop being self conscious about my writing. Which I am. It's almost kind of scary. But in my recent streak of optimism, I'm trying to break my habit of comparing myself to other writers. Tomorrow I'm supposed to let Ruben (Deb's little brother) read something, and I feel that I'd like to write something new today. So I shall be off

"Astonishment is the root of philosophy." - Paul Tillich

I'm not down

Okay so there's a few things to cover.

First off, new blog! Yay! I love starting new accounts on new sites.

Secondly, the name. It's probably temporary. It's a reference to Fight Club. Edward Norton, or the Narrator, finds a series of journals, each one from the point of view of a body part. "I am Jack's medulla oblongata" or "I am Jack's raging bile duct" and throughout the rest of the movie he uses these in his narration. "I am Jack's complete lack of surprise" or "I am Jack's broken heart." So there ya go.

Now, onto the real bloggy part. (That's a technical term, by the way). Why have I started this? An overwhelming amount of inspiration within just a few days. I've been having a very off year. Months of roller coaster moods, especially in the month of June, where the drops were particularly steep. I don't want to get into why, I'll just say it was a mess of different things. But now, I finally feel as if I've gotten off this seemingly neverending ride (okay. The coaster metaphor stops there. Hah). I actually had to force myself to do it. I was becoming way too dependent on others and letting uncontrollable things get to me. Once I started feeling self sufficient, I felt generally more positive. Then I stumbled onto the blog of Jason Mraz, and my optimism sky-rocketed.

And now I feel as if my heart is exploding, but in a good way. It's overflowing with this need to try and spread my enlightenment. So maybe that's what I'll do here, along with my usual daily rants/rambles. I'm excited, I just hope you don't get too bored.

Okay, I think I'm good for this first blog.