My Life is HAPPY, ‘This SMILE is owed to’!!

Most people that have the pleasure of knowing me will say there’s ONE thing they remember most about me. It’s that I’m always smiling or in a pleasant mood. Most people I know can count the number of times they’ve seen me upset. Unfortunately because I’m usually in a good mood, I can’t hide it for long if something is bothering me. I started writing because I wanted to spread some of my Joy to those that I won’t ever interact with or have the pleasure of knowing. So I brought out my brightest and best smile for this occasion.

A fellow writer sent me something interesting today, so I thought I’d play around with it and share it with you. Yes thanks to you happywappyblog here instructions were simple: 

Rules for the party:

Close your eyes and remember the last time you felt happy, really happy; not the fake smile you give the world or use for the photographs. Now, one of two things will happen- either you will remember something that makes you smile and give your insides a happy lurch or you will feel like this is a pointless exercise and you will move on to the next post in your scroll feed.
If you belong to the first category: good. If you belong to the second category and are still reading, GREAT!!!! Now realize that we are all in the same boat putting in our best efforts to row it towards our pot of desires. But today the Happy Wappy World decided to make you reflect back and acknowledge how far you have come, and within 15 minutes of your precious, hectic, important time (Hey, it’s not money at least!). The idea is to slow down our lives a little bit and focus on all the positives so far. So grab a pen and a paper and write down 10 reasons why you consider your life happy. This list may include individuals that make your life worth living, or your accomplishments achieved after a lot of hard work, or things as random as food joints or your favorite chocolate. When you are done, this piece of paper will describe all the trials and testing times you have been through and how it was all worth it in the end.

While life has it’s ups and down, taking time to appreciate beauty and happy moments is a great way to prolong your life. So here are a few things I’m happy about.

This SMILE is owed to:

  1. My Mom, for raising me to be an honest person (and that’s doing so when no one is looking too). To know how to treat other’s with respect, to be kind and generous, yet not be a doormat. Plus my Mom is just all around AWESOME, it only took me 30+ years to realize that.
  2. The Marine Corps. My new Pics - CopyI’ve learnt so many great lessons and so much of who I am is from my time there. While I do talk about it in the abstract (or sometimes refer to it as “In my former Life”) The Marines has been the catalyst to teaching me discipline, and to know my limits, and when it’s possible to overcome them or walk away.
  3. Friends along the way who have thought me to Love others despite their Political, Religious, or Sexual Preferences. I’m especially thankful to those of you who have helped shape my faith. Don’t want anyone to feel left out, so I’m not going to name any names here. But if you’ve ever gotten a “I’m thankful for you Letter or email” you know who you are.
  4. To the countless people who believed in me. Who gave me a chance, even though I may not have felt deserving, for pushing me to new limits.
  5. For a College Education, that was mostly FREE with some minor loans. While some days I may not always cherish my experience. It too along with the people I’ve met has shaped me into who I am today.
  6. For my family who supported and helped my mom and I to immigrate here to the U.S.
  7. This smile is also for you, my READERS. I know sometimes I could sound like I’m ranting, so thank you for listening.
  8. For Life long Friends like Nick and Sikhan. Who I know I can always call when I need help. Sorry Mandy and Caitlin if it’s late at night!
  9. For Living in California, imagewhere I can soak op the sunshine and fresh air anytime. Plus the beautiful spots I’ve found along the way
  10. This smile is for being able to find the good in situations and people. For not letting life keep me down.

I know I’m supposed to list 10 things, but I can’t have a list without also talking about my love for Techno Music (or EDM as the kids call it these days). There’s nothing quite like driving safely, but at an undisclosed speed, with the Beat just blasting. It doesn’t matter what my day was like, that can always bring a smile to my face #smiley.

Now that you’ve read what makes me HAPPY, it’s your turn, your next step is to spread the joy by sharing it. Remember, Sharing is caring! So go to your laptop (in case you are not on it), find a pic where you are happy and IN THE MOMENT and upload it with the list you made with the title- “This smile is owed to” on your blog / facebook accounts with the hash tag #mylifeishappy

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LIGHT Always wins out the Dark!

candle in the dark

Life is inherently complicated, and sometimes it’s easy to get into your groove and forget that it’s still a daily struggle. Over the past few weeks I’ve seen various topics that have sparked my interest, and I wanted to get in on the conversation. As many of you may know, this past week there was yet another Mass shooting. It feels like yet another cognitive distortion. Before Sandy Hook, we probably thought that no one would go into a school and deliberately kill young innocent children. History has thought us that we were wrong about that. For me there’s always been this type of respect for the sanctuary that is a church, at least hear in the United States. That it takes a certain kind of vile hatred to intentionally harm those at worship.

Regardless of what our Race relations look like today, there’s just a kind of un-spoke rule. That at least in your place of worship you’re free from that type of persecution. I too was wrong, hate doesn’t have boundaries. Hate is so vile it will cross any boundary to get it’s point across.

I must admit that because I haven’t directly experienced any kind of overt racism, I sometimes like to pretend that it’s not as serious a problem as some may make it. While I recognize that as a black male I have to be a bit cognizant, in recognizing that I could be the victim of racism. That people will and are judging me based on the color of my skin. I always find myself evaluating my own blackness.

What does it mean to be black? Does my skin color mean I’m predestined to act a certain way? That I’m inherently more dangerous than some people? That I’m some how a lesser educated and unambitious person that the rest?

These are questions I ask myself often, but I don’t get bogged down by the answers. I’m more focused on writing my own story and not letting society or even the color of my skin dictate who I’m to be. I’d never really thought about this before but race isn’t a genetic construct, it’s a social construct designed to help put people into broad easily recognizable categories. It’s not something necessarily designed by nature. While your DNA can tell you where you’re ancestral background has likely roots (Europe, Asia, Africa…) There is no exact biological way to determine a person’s race. This is such a surprising finding, because you hear about forensics determining the race and gender of a victim. The reality is that their answers are just statistical approximations. Yet we place so much emphasis on a person’s race.

Interestingly even for siblings who grew up in the same household, it doesn’t mean that they will have the same personalities. If we’re not guaranteed to have the same personality of people we’re directly genetically related to. Then why is it acceptable to believe that we will share similarities to those we’re not genetically related to? These attributes make the concept of race so interesting yet unnerving. The color of my skin doesn’t tell you much about me, just as you can sometimes never tell who your siblings are.

The tragedy in Charleston, SC has forced me to re-evaluate my understanding of the presence of racism in today’s world. There are many still alive today who went through the racial turmoil of the 1960s era. So the concept of racism isn’t that far removed from my lifetime. I think for us to not acknowledge that is dangerous. By remembering the past and our mistakes, we keep a constant reminder of our capacity for darkness and hatred. If we pretend that racism doesn’t exist anymore, we’re doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. Science has show that we ALL posses an unconscious bias, that is part of the way our brain processes information. We must remember that just a few decades ago our government was the perpetrators of injustice. I don’t say this to be offensive, but rather to show how deep hatred and racism can go if unchecked. While we live in a society where our government isn’t usually the sponsors of racial attitudes, it’s not that far in our past that it has been eradicated.Desmond Tutu

I’m reminded a few lessons from the tragic events from Charleston. It’s not good for good people to always stay silent, because evil is always looking for a stronghold. If good people don’t stand up for what is right, evil will fill that vacuum. Secondly I’ve learnt that while we can feel a whole host of emotions during tragedy, LOVE should always be our focal point. My faith has thought me this important lesson about love:

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Cor 13.1-7. NLT

I’m happy to see the outpouring of love from the community in Charleston, which is much different from the riots and the violence that we’ve seen in others that were faced with injustice. There are many aspects of love, one of which is forgiveness for wrongs. Loving someone doesn’t mean that you won’t be angry or upset when they’ve wronged you. Loving someone doesn’t mean that you won’t set boundaries to ensure you’re not taken advantage of. I think many people get the concept of love wrong. I’ll acknowledge that I’m also continuing to evolve in my own views.
I would like to encourage ALL  who read this to take a stand towards injustice. Without your voice hate will continue to thrive. Have you ever notice what happens when you light a candle in the dark? How the light seems to dispel the dark, that no matter how small the light, it can illuminate even the darkest space. How the light seem to bring a kind of peace to any situation. So I encourage everyone to let YOUR light shine in the dark spaces, to let LOVE win over hate.

Oh no I think I came down with S.O.S!!!

IMG_1013.JPG
It has occurred to me that I may be suffering from S.O.S (shiny object syndrome). I was reading a post from a fellow writer yesterday (yes miasilvvs I’m talking about your post “The Chase”). In her post she talks about loosing interest in a new relationship after some time has passed, she calls it “The Chase” As I was pondering life, as I always seem to do often. It dawned on me that I might be experiencing a case of Shiny Object Syndrome.

O pining about the Future!
For the past few months I’ve been giving serious thought to what I’d like by future to be, aside from my next relationship, I’m specifically thinking about my career. I’m getting older, and I’d like to have stability in my job. For me part of what has been difficult is that I also need to feel intrinsically motivated with what I do. Otherwise I’ll end up sabotaging what I do, mostly subconsciously, not intentionally. Looking at what I’ve accomplished, I feel as though I can do better, or that I should be at a different place, much further along. I know that many people will say I’m crazy, and that I should feel proud. I was talking about this with a friend a few days ago, and while I don’t think I’m where I should be, that’s what also gives me the motivation to move forward.

Newness is always soo exciting!!
There’s a kind of excitement that comes from doing something new, the discovery is invigorating, but like all things in life, there’s usually a plateau for the newness. I started a new job a few months ago, while I didn’t see it as being a career, I still enjoyed it. I still did my best, and I learnt something new each day. Now that I’ve been there a few months, I’m starting to learn about the “cons” of working there. It’s no longer shiny and new.

What does the future hold for me?
As I was contemplating my future with that job today, it dawned on me that the past several years have been like that. It’s not that I’ve not held a job for more than a few months, I was in the Military for 10 years. Although it’s only part-time, I’ve had a primary job for the past 6 years, and work a 2nd job to supplement my income. Perhaps I should be doing something that will allow me to move, or change jobs every few months. That way I can stay in the newness stage, hmm something to think about next!

No one said figuring out what to do would be this hard, while the future looks uncertain. I’m confident that I will find the Career that’s right for me for where I am in my my life. After-all I’ve gotten thus far, and I haven’t imploded yet. What about you, is anyone else feeling like they get tired of things quickly. Are you also longing for the excitement of going on a new adventure?

The Meaning of Living- According to Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey

One of my favorite Comedians has always been Jim Carrey, and Dumb and Dumber has been one of my all time favorite movies. I had previously heard that Jim Carrey is brilliant, and I had thought it was one of those things people say about someone. Today I had the privilege of listening to a Speech he gave at a University this year. I think it’s the most succinct compilation of thoughts I’ve ever heard that gives a glimpse of what Life is about. I took down a few of the ones that touched me, because they reflected the path that my life is on currently.  I highly recommend that you look at the video: Full Speech: Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address at the 2014 MUM Graduation

(The following is a few of the Quotes he gave in the speech, along with a few of my thoughts and why I think what he said is noteworthy)

  • You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you Love (For me I see people living life according to what they think society and others want them to do, and many of them seem soo unhappy. So why not do something that you’re passionate about, something that makes you feel alive and vibrant at your core)
  • Live your life asking how can I have an effect on the world while I’m here?
  • Ask how can my gift change the world, not what can the world do for me.
  • What if people see me without my mask! (The lesson here is to not let fear and the EGO stop you from being your authentic self)
  • To find peace you first have to let the Armour go. (Instead of fighting against who you are, your authentic self, stop worrying about what the world thinks. The masks we wear prevent us from achieving full happiness. To find peace within ourselves, we must let go of all of these things)
  • Our need for acceptance, can also make you invisible. (We’re constantly striving to feel wanted and accepted, but as we continue to look to others to bring us satisfaction, we find that the goal is always moving. We continue to try, but can never accomplish what we set out to do. This race makes us loose our uniqueness, and we become invisible, we’re no longer our true selves)
  • To find Peace we must let our Light shine through, and take the risk to let ourselves be seen. (Remembering that we all have a gift, something unique that we bring to the world, that is our light, our beacon. Be must be willing to be seen with our flaws, our shortcoming. While recognizing that we bring a talent, a gift to share with the Universe. As Brene Brown would say, we must be willing to be vulnerable)
  • Don’t let Wealth, Fame, Prestige … distract you from your true purpose in life, which is to let your Light shine through!!
  • There should be nothing more important in this world than you. (Learn to embrace and invest time into perfecting your gift)
  • Don’t let your EGO(the voice that tells you that you’re not good enough) fool you, know that you already possess everything you want, believe it and it will come to pass.
  • Stop worrying about how your dreams will come through, just believe, and don’t get caught up on what the vessel looks like. If you miss your chance, the Universe will find a way to bring it back around again.

With each passing day, it’s ammazing what we can find that helps define our path. I’m happy that I’m at a stage in my life that I’m able to learn about these things. After all in the end I’d like to know that I’ve lived my life, and that I’ll be satisfied with what I’ve done. This is just one small stem towards that future. Thank you Kathleen for first posting this, and for guiding others to find their light.

 

 

 

I’m Ready to go ALL IN!!

All In

The last post I wrote really had me thinking about my past. Not to worry I’m not in a regret mode, but I feel this immense sense of clarity and I thought I’d share it. In case you didn’t ready my last post, here’s an excerpt from a article written by Mike Rowe:

 “A Fan Asks Mike Rowe For Life Advice…”

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Mike RoweGet yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you. Good luck – Mike Rowe

As I mentioned earlier, this has been on my mind for the past few days. Today even though I had a long day, and I was outside basically roasting in the sun. By the time I left work I was super excited and happy, and I had no idea why. I think I’m in the beginning stages of letting go. Letting go of the notion that I must search for the “perfect job” or “perfect relationship”. What I’m doing isn’t bad, many people would be happy with the jobs I have. I was finally starting to listen to what Mike said, to stop wasting time looking for the perfect job, and to work hard at what I already have. I’ve always known that intrinsic motivation is the best factor to job satisfaction. I should know, I conducted my own original research for my Undergraduate degree. Complete with interviews, I went the qualitative research method, I didn’t opt for surveys, it didn’t tell me enough about peoples motivation. Anyway I’ve done the research, so by now I should know how to motivate myself, but yet I struggled for years. The good news is that I’m at a stage where I’m doing things differently.

Aside from my career, I’ve also been thinking about relationship, that’s actually what I wanted to study, but my Academic Advisor din’t sign off on that one. As with my job I’m starting to let go of the notion of finding the “perfect” relationship, while I’m not talking about settling for who ever comes along first. What I’m talking about is being willing to put in the work with someone who’s willing to work on a relationship. The bad part is that I’m now realizing that my ex was quite willing to do that. It’s a bit sad that I didn’t realize it at the time. I’m not going to beat myself up about that anymore, I’ve learnt so much during the past year. I’m more in touch with others around me, and I’m letting go of many of by wrong beliefs I held on to, and I’m not sure if I would have accomplished that with my previous path. While it hurts, I also feel that the growth that has come from that experience is really valuable.

What the future holds, only time will tell. What I do know is that I’m willing to go ALL IN now. I’m Jumping inwilling to put in the work to get the kind of future I want. Settling isn’t in my DNA, I’m too much of a perfectionist for that, but I am willing to make several concessions. Life is a constant ebb and flow, sure there are things out there that are perfect, but that’s not everyday life. Even the most beautiful flower dies, and is reborn again. I have to be willing to let go, and in letting go I can open myself up to all that life has to offer.

How about you, how can letting go and jumping ALL IN change your life? Are you still struggling to find that “perfect …” What’s keeping you from getting it? Perhaps it’s time to change your perspective!! Have a blessed day, and I hope my Positive Vibes can emanate throughout the universe and find you where you live. I feel that I have plenty to go around today.