Ktaadn

Seven years ago
Then Now
And yet still to come
These parallel universes exist
Time and Space
Their illusion can make one grow old
With a falsity of living
Of dying
Not understanding that we are all one
Misperceiving our true selves
Overlooking our indestructible consciousness
Going about daily life sleepwalking insane
Instead of dreaming to awake
Instead of deliberately living
Instead of meaningfully being
Distracted with distractions, entertainment
Feasting, drinking until drunking, dosing until drugging
We count followers, likes, digital bank balances,
Material things as successes
Modern day silver platters and goblets of gold
But they remain the common clay
Misguided
Meaningless
Trite
An inglorious Way
Of discounting self, others,
The grass under our feet
Birds, trees, water, sky, earth
The deer running through the woods
The blooming plankton floating in sea
The stars twinkling above in the night sky
Why communicate when we can
Dictate and mandate
And why love when we can
Hate, twist, stir, disassociate
Hanging on
Holding on
Arrested by desire
Suffering
We trapped in our prison of unrealistic expectations
This prison of our fixed thinking
A prison of our own fears
A screen for others to play on
A stage for created drama
Someone’s written script
A sign in today’s newspaper horoscope
This is how false friends take you for a fool
This is how people make themselves
For fools
This is how false thoughts within oneself arise
This is the cave.
Be a mirror
Be a shining light
Be a tiny spring flower
Be a spring-fed mountain stream
Be a cloud
Be the horizon
Be (t)here
Be the architect of your own design
Be love
Be-lieve you are everything
And nothing …
Seven years ago
Then Now
And yet still to come
These parallel universes exist
Time and Space
I am misty blue and green above below
Standing atop a hunted jagged peak
Holding love in my arms
The Klondike stretched out before us
Cold wind buffeting
Cold sun shining blinding
Warming hearts tender embrace
Casting away the mind’s abyss
As my heart crosses the divide

@nicholehastings

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

Truth. It’s one of those things that everyone values and yet a lot of people can’t bear to face. So here we go, the uncomfortable and awkward expansion on that bit of truth that I brought up in my piece about Why Ice Cube Got It Right When He Said Women Are Bitches, Hoes and Tricks: the story of breaking up and kicking out my abusive ex-boyfriend.

Why is the “truth” so difficult/scary/uncomfortable for so many people?

Perhaps you’ll have to confront something about yourself, others, your situation, and the world around you that you would rather not face.

Then you have two choices: either face “the truth” OR put the blinders back on.

Uncomfortable truths that I face about myself are: I trust people. I forgive easily. I’m a recovering perfectionist. I’m a compulsive organiser and cleaner. I’m used to and quite capable of taking care of myself so I have a hard time asking for help. I have a problem with so-called authority and rules that I perceive to be pointless or unjust and will disregard those ones. I don’t believe that there is anyone on the planet who is better or more deserving than I am of anything, basically in my mind everyone is equal, and that doesn’t work for those who buy into antiquated hierarchical thought constructs. I’m a risk-taker and sometimes that works for and against me. I intimidate people. I don’t believe in or conform to gender roles. I love my family but I don’t like most of them. I still love my ex-husband and this abusive ex-boyfriend in spite of it all. I believe the truth should be honoured above all else, including friends.

So in the context of the violent ex-boyfriend, I have discovered that the truth is incredibly difficult for people to think or even hear about. People can be incredibly sympathetic and obtuse when they do. They’ll say interesting things like “I would call the police if he did that to me.” and “It’s horrible what he did to you but I’m still going to be friends with him because….” And for those who like to put people on pedestals, they are disappointed and sometimes disdainful of you, as if you told them you just accidentally on purpose broke their favorite dish. I had one person say to me when they heard about what happened that it was “terrifying” for them to think about.

For them.

Puh-lease, seriously???

That’s just fucking insulting to hear after you’ve been through a truly “terrifying” experience.

Terrifying is having the person who supposedly “loves” you holding a huge-ass knife an inch from your throat and threatening to kill you.

A friend said to me “Don’t post it on Facebook.” and another just stopped talking to me. The ex’s parents thanked me for not telling too many people. A now ex-roommate moved out after he found me sleeping on the couch and I told him it was because my ex-then-boyfriend hit me. People even asked me questions like “Why did you stay with him?”, “Do you love yourself?” and “Are you going to go back to him?”

The questions were not asked with malicious intent but it’s clear that in their shock and dismay of hearing the truth, they were not really thinking very clearly about what they were saying and why. Nor were they really thinking about how saying these things affects a person. It’s like asking a war veteran “How many people have you killed?” or “What does it feel like to kill another person?” or a cancer victim “How does it feel to have cancer?” and expecting the person to not think you’re an insensitive asshole.

Yes, asking questions like that makes you an asshole.

Asking those kinds of questions goes beyond bad manners and poor taste because it is dismissive and invalidating to the horror a victim has suffered. And if you have been a victim of some sort of threat or attack then you know what I’m talking about. Let me put it into a context, if you were fired from your job without good reason would you want people asking you “What does it feel like to get fired?” and “What did you do?” as if it your experience is some bit of reality TV programming for their entertainment.

I didn’t think so.

So let me break it down, the awful truth about the domestic violence I’ve experienced that still has me only sleeping about five or six hours at night, and my skinny jeans baggy on me:

My ex-boyfriend shoved me around, called me awful names, and said other nasty things to me. He tried to destroy and threatened to sell/keep my laptop unless I did what he told me to many times. He threw things at me. He strangled me three times, once to unconsciousness. I had a broken toe from kicking the floor while he was strangling me at one point which took about two months to heal. He hit me twice in the face, once so hard that my nose started bleeding and I had a black eye which extended over the bridge of my nose. The other time the blow landed on my right cheek but indirectly so the bruising was minor. He punched me in the back while I was lying in bed and in the back and sides of my head. He held a knife to my throat and threatened my life several times. He nearly cut half of the tip of my little finger off with one of his knives but luckily the cut, while deep, was clean so it healed well.

The majority of this all happened over the course of six months after we arrived in Spain. The first time it happened was in his parents house while they were away in Colorado on vacation in January or February earlier this year, I forget now. During that first time he shoved me around and I sprained my right hand. That took a couple months to heal but I stayed with him believing his story about having PTSD and having an episode.

The fact is, as awful as all that happened to me was and sounds, it could have been much worse.

You don’t realise how bad things are/were until you sit down and talk to someone, write a thing like this, are out of the situation. And an even scarier thing is, if I had stayed with him, it probably would have gotten worse if I hadn’t finally decided that I’d had enough, that being in a foreign country, having nearly all my financial resources depleted, not speaking the language well or having a job no longer mattered.

The day I shoved him out the door, literally pushed him out the front door as he stood in the doorway (thank god without his keys) and slammed it closed after he attacked me was the one of the best days of my life. And of course the worst.

That last day, and every day since, I’ve had to face some more uncomfortable truths about myself and my situation.

The fact that I had been fooling myself for several months thinking that everything was alright and things were going to get better between the ex and I. The fact that I was being stupid and careless with my life by being with that guy. My propensity to auto-trust people and give in some people’s minds, give them more credit than they deserve. But I know that bad habits can be broken over time with practice. So yes, I will continue to endeavour to persevere in loving more as Thoreau suggested because I decided it’s best for me to forgive myself.

I forgave my ex-boyfriend as well.

I still talk and interact with him. We argue about the details of what he did to me because he tries to twist them about. I correct him so he’s not operating under a false and distorted pretense and about what actually happened and what he did. But this is proving to be a fruitless endeavour. But being the person I am, I have hope that by being in his life…maybe he will learn, grow from this experience, and one day be a better version of himself.

But the truth is he may never make those things happen for himself.

So why share all this?

It’s pretty simple really. I want other people, especially those who may be in an abusive relationship, to know what happened to me. It’s better to be truthful about oneself, others and a situation you are experiencing than to conform to this foolish idea that you shouldn’t talk about such things because of how others may feel and react.

Fuck that.

Whatever it is you’re dealing with in life, it’s important to talk about the experiences you’ve had, both “good” and “bad” so you can process how you feel about what’s happening or happened. Sharing, reaching out, connecting, whatever you want to call it, is important so you know you’re not alone. Especially in situations involving violence.

It’s important to take comfort in realising that other people have been in a similar situation. And that they overcame and survived. Or not.

IMG_0340

“He strangled me three times, once to unconsciousness.”

It’s important for others to know who those violent abusive people are so they can protect themselves and not find out the hard way, like I did.

It’s important to face the truth of who you are by admitting to and accepting the things about you that make you a beautiful, unique and yes, an imperfect individual. It’s important to realise that if you don’t like various truths about yourself only you have the power to change them into ones that you do like. And last but not least, it’s important to keep in mind that death happens to us all, can come at any time, and that your opinion of you and how you choose to live are the only things that truly matter.

Stop living for others, waiting until tomorrow to do things that bring you joy, and start living your life for you.

Start now.

The Courage Not to Waste Our Gifts

Mark Nepo 11/04/14 02:51 PM ET

No one can construct the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of your life, but you.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Every single being has an amazing, unfathomable gift that only meeting life head-on and heart-on will reveal. And we can’t fully know our gift alone. We need each other to discover the gift, to believe in the gift. And then, to learn how to use it. The challenge for each of us is not to discount our gift because of the indifference of others, and not to abdicate our gift because of the various weights we’re forced to carry.

What does it mean to have a gift? For the lamp, the light it was shaped to carry is its gift. Without a light, a lamp has no purpose. For a person, we are shaped by experience to reveal the light we carry. For a person, how that light comes through us is our gift. We could say that for every hand, the heart it was shaped to carry is its gift. And a life cut off from the work of its heart has no purpose. Our call in the midst of our days is to discover the gift that connects our heart and our hands, to discover the light that fills the lamp of the life we are given. Once discovered, our work is to never let the light of our gift go out.

The gift can come through us in any way: cleaning the snow off a neighbor’s car, clipping your dog’s nails, reading books to blind children, helping a retired couple refinance their home, devoting yourself to Beethoven’s violin concerto. As a lamp can light any patch of ground, the hand filled with heart can light anything it touches. The gift is what fills our hand. The various skills of the world are how the gifted hand moves.

Finding the ways our soul can breathe cleanly and completely is our career. Where that happens is our occupation.

A Question to Walk With: Describe your gift as you understand it. When did you first become aware of your gift? If you’re not, what settings or activities bring you most alive?

Read the original post here.

FUCK YES OR NO

July 8, 2013
8 minute read by Mark Manson

Think about this for a moment: Why would you ever choose to be with someone who is not excited to be with you?

There’s a grey area in dating many people get hung up on — a grey area where feelings are ambiguous or one person has stronger feelings than the other. This grey area causes real, tangible issues. As a man, a huge question is often whether to be persistent and continue pursuing a woman even when she seems lukewarm or hot/cold on your advances. For women, a common question is what to do with men who make their feelings ambiguous.

“She said she’s not interested, but she still flirts with me, so what do I need to do to get her?”
“Well, I know she likes me, but she didn’t call me back last weekend, what should I do?”
“He treats me well when he’s around, but he’s hardly around. What does that mean?”

Most dating advice exists to “solve” this grey area for people. Say this line. Text her this. Call him this many times. Wear that.

Much of it gets exceedingly analytical, to the point where some men and women actually spend more time analyzing behaviors than actually, you know, behaving.

Frustration with this grey area also drives many people to unnecessary manipulation, drama and game-playing. This is where you get rules about making men pay for this many dates before you can become intimate. Or how men need to transition from attraction phase to comfort phase by qualifying three times before they’re allowed to commence an escalation ladder.

These things may seem clever and exciting to some people who are stuck or frustrated. But this dating advice misses the point. If you’re in the grey area to begin with, you’ve already lost.

Let me ask again: Why would you ever be excited to be with someone who is not excited to be with you? If they’re not happy with you now, what makes you think they’ll be happy to be with you later? Why do you make an effort to convince someone to date you when they make no effort to convince you?

What does that say about you? That you believe you need to convince people to be with you?

You wouldn’t buy a dog that bites you all the time. And you wouldn’t be friends with someone who regularly ditches you. You wouldn’t work a job that doesn’t pay you. Then why the hell are you trying to make a girlfriend out of a woman who doesn’t want to date you? Where’s your self-respect?

The entrepreneur Derek Sivers once wrote a blog post where he said, “If I’m not saying ‘Hell Yeah!’ to something, then I say no.” It served him well in the business world and now I’d like to apply it to the dating world. And because I’m more of a vulgar asshole than Derek is, I’ll christen mine The Law of “Fuck Yes or No.”

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.
The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” also states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, THEY must respond with a “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.

As you can see, The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” implies that both parties must be enthusiastic about the prospect of one another’s company. Why? Because attractive, non-needy, high self-worth people don’t have time for people who they are not excited to be with and who are not excited to be with them.

This may sound a bit idealistic to some. But The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” has many tangible benefits on your dating life:

No longer be strung along by people who aren’t that into you. End all of the headaches. End the wishing and hoping. End the disappoint and anger that inevitably follows. Start practicing self-respect. Become the rejector, not the rejected.

No longer pursue people you are so-so on for ego purposes. We’ve all been there. We were so-so about somebody, but we went along with it because nothing better was around. And we all have a few we’d like to take back. No more.

Consent issues are instantly resolved. If someone is playing games with you, playing hard to get, or pressuring you into doing something you’re unsure about, your answer is now easy. Or as I often like to say in regards to dating, “If you have to ask, then that’s your answer.”

Establish strong personal boundaries and enforce them. Maintaining strong boundaries not only makes one more confident and attractive, but also helps to preserve one’s sanity in the long-run.

Always know where you stand with the other person. Since you’re now freeing up so much time and energy from people you’re not that into, and people who are not that into you, you now find yourself perpetually in interactions where people’s intentions are clear and enthusiastic. Sweet!

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” is applicable to dating, sex, relationships, even friendships. You may have absolutely nothing in common with that bartender. But they’re hot and are interested in getting down. Is it a “Fuck Yes!” for sex? It is? Then game on.

Wrapped up in that sweet guy who treats you so well, except goes weeks without calling you and suddenly disappears after a couple drinks and a round of the horizontal polka? Been wondering if he really likes you? Do his excuses of being so busy all the time seem legit? It doesn’t sound like the answer is a “Fuck yes.” Then it’s time to move on.

Making out with a girl at your house and every time you go to take her shirt off she swats your hands away? That is not a “Fuck Yes,” my friend, therefore, it’s a no and you shouldn’t pressure her. The best sex is “Fuck Yes” sex — i.e., both people are shouting “Fuck Yes” as they hop between the sheets together. If she’s not hopping, then there’s no fucking.

(Hint Fellas: This is a great time to ask the girl why she’s not comfortable, and what she’s looking for from you. That, by itself — you know, treating her like a human and empathizing with her — often solves this “problem.”)

Want to date that woman you met last weekend but she keeps ignoring your texts and calls? Not sure what to say or do, especially since she seemed so happy to go out with you when you initially met her? Well, my friend, this is obviously not a “Fuck Yes.” Therefore, it is a “No.” Delete her number and move on.

Fuck Yes or No applies to relationships as well. My girlfriend works with a guy who got married because “it seemed like the right thing to do.” Four years later, he was cheating on his wife every chance he got. The marriage was not a Fuck Yes for him, therefore it should have been a No.

Sometimes The Law of Fuck Yes or No will apply differently on different levels. You may be a “Fuck Yes” for friendship with someone, but mildly excited to have sex with them. Therefore, it’s a no. You may be a “Fuck Yes” on banging someone’s brains out, but a definite “No” on actually spending any time with them. Apply the law to your decision-making as it suits your current needs.

But the real beauty of The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” is that it simplifies the problems you can have in your dating life. When applying the Law of “Fuck Yes or No,” there are really only two problems one can have.

The first problem is people who never feel a “Fuck Yes” for anybody they meet. If you are lukewarm on absolutely everyone you meet, then either your demographics are way off, or you suffer from a lack of vulnerability and are protecting yourself by remaining indifferent and unenthused by all of those around you.

Remember, it’s your job to look for something cool in everyone you meet; it’s not their job to show you. This is life, not a fucking sales convention. Learning to appreciate people you meet is a skill you cultivate. So get on it. This doesn’t mean you have to fall in love with everyone who breathes in your direction. It just means you need to take responsibility for your ability to connect with the people you are meeting.

The second problem is people who never meet others who feel a “Fuck Yes” for them. If all of the people you pursue give you a mild responses, or outright rejections, then it’s time to focus on improving yourself. Ask yourself, what is it about yourself that would inspire others to say “Fuck Yes” about you? If the answer is not obvious, then you get to work. Build yourself into a person others would say “Fuck Yes” to.

And this is the ultimate dating advice lesson — man, woman, gay, straight, trans, furry, whatever — the only real dating advice is self improvement. Everything else is a distraction, a futile battle in the grey area, a prolonged ego trip. Because, yes, with the right tools and performance, you may be able to con somebody into sleeping with you, dating you, even marrying you. But you will have won the battle by sacrificing the war, the war of long-term happiness.

Read the original here.

Bridge Over Still Waters

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Bridge Over Still Waters
Photographed by Nichole Hastings
With the iPhone 4S

Dating is difficult when you meet people who really don’t know what they want and haven’t yet achieved emotional maturity. They act without thinking or regard for another’s feelings then think saying “sorry” opens the gateway to automatic forgiveness and friendship. That’s why it’s best to think before you act or react about the potential consequences in forming new relationships. Act like you’re into the other person and they will think it is so. Don’t do it if you don’t want it. Because sometimes saying, “I’m sorry.” after the fact isn’t enough.

Photo Editor edits: contrast, brightness, saturation