Category Archives: Thoughtful

“The Egg” By Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“I’m Jesus?”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.

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The Hole

Humans are habitual beings, it is a part of the condition we all live by. Often this means we repeat bad habits, or actions that do not serve us or our journeys well. The beautiful thing about self awareness and open mindedness is the ability it lends us to evolve and make changes, regardless of how insurmountable this challenge may seem. A friend of mine sent this my way recently, I do not know who the original author is… but I love it.

Sylvia “We-all-have-our-holes” Stout

DAY ONE
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I feel lost…I feel helpless.
It isn’t my fault!!
I’m not responsible.
It takes forever to find a way out.

DAY TWO
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m back in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
I don’t feel responsible.
It still takes a long time to get out.

DAY THREE
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in……it’s a habit.
But my eyes are open, I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I am responsible.
I get out very quickly.

DAY FOUR
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

DAY FIVE
I walk down a different street.

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Focussss …

This useful illustration comes care of my father, a gifted practitioner of quietude and mental peace. He’s similar to Syl’s dad in that he denounces most New Age practices as flaky (or perhaps as “voodoo”), but when he sits silently in the yard, contemplating birdsong and watching the grass grow, I know that whether he’ll admit it or not, he is meditating.

It doesn’t really matter what we call these periods of mental and emotional rest. It only matters that we do whatever it takes to make sure we have them. Right??

I will attempt to remain,
Peacefully yours as I prepare for my first night at my new job,

SC

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The Plastic Problem

I don’t care how rich you are, or pardon me… how rich your husband is… if you have nipped, tucked, and injected enough plastic into your face to look like a carp I could fish out of the sea – I am simply not going to be able to take you seriously.

Allow me to expand: I take no issue whatsoever with plastic surgery as a concept or a general practice. In fact, I think some plastic surgeons have achieved great success in tastefully remolding the human body. If you have always wanted a nice, juicy rack because you have suffered self consciously at the hands of your AAA cup size since puberty, knock yourself out. I get it. Trust me, in the past I have even flirted with having the procedure myself.

Just look at Ashlee Simpson’s rhino and mentoplasty (nose and chin reshaping, respectively) – Not that there was anything wrong with her appearance to begin with, but I believe her beauty certainly improved with a couple of subtle and tasteful surgeries.

A little plastic surgery can go a long way, and that is my point.

What disturbs/fascinates me is when women (and men!) take it too far. If you look like you are fresh off the boat from Neptune, you’ve taken it next level, and maybe it is time to reflect upon the deeper, psychologically based reasons why you feel the need to completely PVC-ify your face. (Images below in consecutive order: Donatella Versace, Michaela Romanini, Heidi Montag, Jackie Stallone (hahaha)!!)

Here is what I believe to be a fair and relevant comparison: There is nothing at all questionable in the desire to gamble on a reasonable scale once or twice a year; to hit the strip in Vegas, Atlantic City, or Niagra (ew), and risk some of your hard earned money on a night or three of frivolous bets and fun. But there has to be a limit, no? If you are frittering away your salary or your family’s nest egg on blackjack, poker, and slots (whatever your poison may be), that’s an entirely different can of worms.

I believe that plastic surgery can be just as habit forming and addictive (big word – massive connotations, I know) as gambling.  Except the draw it that it is your face. Yes, that thing you present first and foremost to the world. That thing people look into to find out more about who you are, and what you are all about. Plastic surgery addiction is a serious matter rooted in poor self esteem and sense of self worth often linked to Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) which you can read more about here. What can start out with one ‘corrective’ surgery can lead in some cases to a completely skewed conception about what it means or takes to be ‘beautiful’ in the framework of society’s preconceived ideals.

I work at a high end restaurant in the city and I have never seen so much PLASTIC in one place in my entire living, breathing life. I was serving a table the other day and I had to consciously and purposefully stop myself from gawking at this fifty-something woman, clearly trying to look like her twenty-something daughter who was sitting at the same table. I almost had to place my index finger under my chin and push closed my jaw which was damn-near resting on the tabletop. What is the longest possible amount of time you can stare at a person before it crosses the line of being rude, intrusive, or creepy? 10… 20 seconds? Whatever the standard, I surpassed it.

There are greater evils at play here though. I can’t very well only scold the player, I must also call attention to the game. Western society and culture seemingly value youth above all else. This is especially (and arguably almost exclusively) the case when it comes to women in particular. Even if it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, women tend to believe that they decrease in overall beauty, and therefore value, as they age.  Wrinkles, sagging tits, loose skin… “gross!”. Who knows, maybe I will feel the same way about myself one day. The ideals of beauty have certainly been indoctrinated into all of us to an almost inescapable degree and since a very impressionable age, after all.

Regardless, I think it is better to age naturally and with grace, because at the end of the day plastic looks like plastic; man made and unnatural. Who knows, maybe one day most humans will look like Donatella, and thus our realities will alter to fit this new “ideal” into the framework of normalcy, but in the meantime I will continue to argue vehemently that there is another way: Nature’s way and the way of genetics.

– Sylvia “Save-the-Plastic-for-the-Bags-and-Try-to-Love-What-Ya-Got” Stout

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Oil Pulling

A new work friend and I had a long conversation about alternative medicine the other day. He introduced me to a process known as oil pulling, and while I have yet to try this for myself, I am intrigued by the benefits.

According to the interweb, oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal practice, an alternative form of Hindu medicine predominately practiced in India. The oil puller will take a teaspoon of raw, unrefined oil (WF mentioned that sesame or sunflower are the best types), on an empty stomach, once or twice a day and swish it around for about 15-20 minutes. In this time, the oil will be pulled through the teeth and will mix completely with the user’s saliva, eventually transforming from its thick consistency actually turning quite viscous and white.

There are many proposed benefits of doing this, aside from the obvious which pertains to oral hygiene and cavity prevention. Supposedly it can also alleviate pesky ailments such as headaches, thrombosis, ulcers, bronchitis, and eczema, to name a few. The theory rests on this idea that toxins and chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream through the blood vessels in your mouth. The swishing of oil causes us to secrete saliva which is rich with water, electrolytes, digestive enzymes, and anti bacterial/fungal/viral agents, and this heterogeneous mixture actually helps to pull unwanted toxins out of the bloodstream, and therefore the body. You can read more about the practice here.

Voodoo? Witch-doctory? Perhaps… I know my father would think so! Mind you the man thinks a single Tylenol represents ‘Voodoo’ medicine, so I think I will give it a try and form my own opinion.

Stay Tuned.

SS.

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Where do you fit in?

Pffff… Mathematicians!?… whatever! Shit Tier represent! The parties are great, the fellow friends even better…

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They’re both hungry…

A Cherokee Legend:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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The best advice, the only advice

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30 Things to stop doing to yourself

I found this article on Marc and Angel Hack Life in a roundabout way, (it is a great Blog previously unknown to me), and realized in a flash that it was exactly what I had been looking for, albeit not consciously. Funny how these things happen to us sometimes. The whole blog offers tidbits of inspirational advice, but this post consists of standards of action all of us really should adhere to everyday and most of us probably could stand to be reminded of. I have included the three that resonate most profoundly with me (written by Marc), but check out the complete list here, it is worth the five minutes.

Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.

Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.

Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

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Word up

Forelsket is a Norwegian word that does not have a direct English translation. The closet English phrase is “New Relationship Energy” or NRE, which describes the euphoric state that one experiences upon first falling in love with another. Butterflies are aflutter in your belly anytime you think about, see, or hear this persons voice, you wear a dopey, mindless perma-smile like this season’s hottest fashion accessory, everything in the world is alight with positivity, the cute and affectionate couple at the grocery store checkout become your secret accompli, not your worst enemies, time can quite literally stand still while you spend hours in the bedroom, kitchen, living room, naked and joyful… just the two of you. Ooey-gooey, blissful, pins and needles LUSTLOVE. YES PLEASE!

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The Zen of Drinking Alone

This is an interesting and thought provoking article from Modern Drunkard Magazine about the art of drinking alone. I was always taught that drinking by oneself is a dangerous habit to form, and then to follow a list of negative personal attributes and risks associated with such behaviours. However, I was also taught, more importantly, to form my own opinions and I have to agree that occasionally hitting the bottle solo, has for me at least, proven a valuable experience. The article is worth a read either way:

“What’d you get up to last night?”
“Got wicked drunk.”
“Yeah? Where’d you go?”
“I didn’t go anywhere. I drank at home.”
“You had a party and didn’t invite me? Who showed up?”
“No one. I got drunk by myself.”
“No shit? What’s wrong, man? You wanna talk about it?”

do wanna talk about it. Not about what my friend wrongly assumed was the dark motivation that would drive me to drink alone, but the very act of drinking alone.

Somewhere along the line people got the idea that solitary boozing is a sure sign that the drinker is about to slip over the edge into something dark and sinister, whether it be suicide, skid row or a staff position at a drinking magazine.

To Continue drinking reading click here.

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“Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you.”

– Charles Warnke

take the risk… do it anyway.

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Thanks Al!

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”

– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

(Photo cred here)

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The good Doctor

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love”

– Dr. Seuss

Annie Hall and Alvy Singer are both a little weird.

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“When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships.”

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

words of wisdom

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Take a break.

I think that everyday we should take at least two minutes to ourselves to think about nothing at all.

http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com

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