Sunday, May 25, 2008

When I Wake Up

(Hey, I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago but then I deleted it a bit after I wrote it for some dumb reason. I just realized it was still on my "flog blog" on Facebook so I retrieved it from there. All is well again.)

Hi again friends. I'm fadin' out a bit here and that's a very good thing. I can't tell what a pain it has been lately to try to change my sleep schedule from total vampire (4am-1pm) to normal (12am-9am). I thought I had it and then I got all screwed up again. last night I slept through my alarm clock going off right next to me--all three levels of increasing frequency of beeps! It really screwed up some plans.

Can I just tell you that I am one horrible sleeper? I have NEVER as long as I can remember had a regular, consistent, healthy sleep schedule or the dietary equivalent. this has got to stop! but the eating thing, oh an that's tough here. i mean shopping for food is a pain. I'm getting, like, NO fresh vegetable from my current restaurant diet, so I gotta do something.

Anyways, what was on my mind was that moment when I wake up. Like many of you probably, I wake up and immediately go into some thought process, usually not important. Sometimes I'm just continuing from where i left off before I managed to slip through the cracks of my thoughts into sleep.

What I want to do is this: as soon as I realize I'm awake, immediately say a prayer, maybe this particular morning prayer I have memorized, and keep saying it until it's the first conscious thing I did of the day. The words of the prayer were the first words in my mind that day. the prayer was my first thought and my first action.

Being willing to do this and actually doing it would have a powerful affect on me I think. When I wake up and immediately grab hold of some thought about my life and things of the world that means I can't bear not to be attached to those things. it means I'm afraid to fall into Baha'u'llah's arms before I take a look down there to see where I'll be falling. It means I'm thinking about it, assessing it, making sure it's the thing I want to do, comparing it with other things. It means I'm doubting. It means I'm distracted and preoccupied. It means I don't really want to be with God.

All of this meaning just from not making prayer the very first thing I do? It's because that moment of decision lies right there at the beginning. Waking up is like being born in a way. It's coming out of nothingness or another life or something, coming out of a separation. In that first moment, before I have time to calculate and give myself the same old tired reasons why I do the things I do, why I continue on with my life as it is, I have a chance to just grab onto the cord of love and reliance and nothingness before God! If I grab on then and take firm hold and pray more and read the Word more and meditate more, maybe I'll be able to hold onto that cord all day!

I'm just asking myself these days: how much more do I have to suffer, how much more of this am I going to put myself through before I give up? I mean, there's no way I'm going back to oblivion and forgetting God, so until I really make my life all about Him I'm just stuck here in this limbo. I feel like I just need to make some leap inside me somewhere, my heart has to jump off a cliff with clouds below it. Attachment to things that never fail to bear worthless, worthless fruits! Subtle doubts and inertia that isn't always conscious holding me back, keeping my heart in this grey fog of nowhere. I, me, mine. All the attachments, all the opinions, all the desires, all the passing lusts, all the worries and anxieties, all the cravings and urges and habits and all that stuff. All of it! It's all BALONEY! I AM JUST SO SICK OF IT ALL!

I've got to pursue every opportunity to draw nearer to God, to feel His presence, to be animated by Him, and filled with His spirit. More than ever before, I find it the only thing that can give me any rest or happiness. All else is utter misery. I don't fear that darkness though, because i know I can put it behind me forever! Say a prayer for me please! That I will finally get over that hill that has been in my view for years and years! On the other side is a golden valley filled with fruits that will give me the ability to truly serve others and will fill my heart with peace!

I'm 32 years old and I have the opportunity to start my true life now! if I don't do it now I feel I may never do it. I really do. This time is very important to me. i have to transform my life. if I don't it really might never happen, or it might be another 10 years. If you ever will pray for me, please pray for me now!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Words, words, words

Hey all. I actually posted a week ago but then deleted it. I guess I was thinking it was too much rambling or inner thoughts that others might not have interest in. I thought maybe I should streamline the blog a little bit to make it more interesting. Then I got an amazing email from a friend I haven’t heard from in ages responding to that post. It’s too late to retrieve the post though. Well, that taught me my lesson. I won’t deleting anything anymore.

Anyways, so…..the other week I saw a Korean guy wearing a t-shirt that said “Death Frequency Narcotic.” I just thought that was the most intense and dark phrase I had heard in a while. I don’t know if it’s a band name or a lucky jumble of words. There are lots of t-shirts here that say really random things. For example, I just bought a t-shirt that says “Look at the facts, multi holder.” There’s a picture of a pair of glasses below the caption. I like it.

Been spending a lot of time alone lately. I don’t mind it so much. I like being with people but I like being alone too. I would feel better if I were more productive, but that’s nothing new. I’ve been transferring my entire CD library to iTunes which is taking forever. It’s cool to see all my music laid out though and to have such easy access to it. iTunes has been good to me too. I’m subscribed to many cool podcasts, such as “A Baha’i Perspective,” in which the host interviews Baha’is from all different countries and walks of life (being in a foreign country makes me notice cool English phrases like “walks of life”) and another one that teaches me how to beat-box!

I’ve also discovered some new bands that have rocked my world. In fact, I’ve discovered a whole new genre that I love and just fits like a glove. It’s a type of rock music called “Shoegaze.” It’s generally kind of dark or somber but also full of depth and beauty and emotion. It’s characterized by many harmonious sounds coming together to form a “wall of sound.” It’s called shoegaze because the guitarists are concentrating so much or are so shy and introspective that they’re looking down the whole time they perform. The quintessential shoegaze band is My Bloody Valentine. I can’t believe I haven’t listened to them before. Their album “Loveless” is a revelation! It’s like swimming in sound, coming across beautiful, lonely, haunting mermaids and seeing blurry seascapes coming in and out of focus through the waves. I’ve also discovered another band, actually an artist, that makes me feel the same way. His name is M83 and his album “Saturday=Youth” is really just so wonderful. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve fallen in love with new albums—not just liked but fallen in love with.

I’ve also rediscovered artists I had been out of touch with. I’ve always loved the electronic music of Autechre but for 15 years I only had 3 albums. I just got a bunch more of their stuff and it’s A-MAZ-ing. I got my favorite from back in the day: KLF! (is gonna rock ya) I discovered Jack Johnson, who I love and, like everyone else, want to be. I also discovered The Verve. WOW! They are just so wonderful. I love The Verve!

There’s also cool radio stations on iTunes, like one that has awesome Drum ‘n Bass and another one that Lex turned me onto which is all actual recordings of radio broadcasts from the 1920s, commercials and all! I love that stuff!

Anyways, what else…I got an iPod shuffle, which is awesome. I got a sweet cell phone (finally.) Not that anyone calls me much yet, but not having much of a social life is par for the course at this point. I’m reading “Tuesdays With Morrie,” which is really awesome and spiritual. A coworker who is also very awesome and spiritual (and who I’ve shared the Faith with some and hope she wants to know and see more) gave it to me as a late birthday present.

Oh and tens of thousands of people in Sichuan province, China--where I used to live!—are mourning the loss of their beloved children and husbands and wives and parents and family members and friends. Tens of thousands of people in Myanmar are doing the same thing. And in Sudan. And in Iraq. Excuse me but DAMMIT! DAMMIT! DAMMIT! AAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH! Have you seen the photos coming out from the earthquake zone? Well you should. We should all see the evidence of the suffering that is crushing and haunting millions of our fellow humans. We need to see the truth. This world is in trouble. We may see the peril more clearly during our lifetimes. Things are getting worse and they will continue to get worse until we can no longer bear it. This is the darkness before the dawn.

Nevertheless here I remain in my shell of comfort and self-absorption. Sometimes I want to burn away my soul in the fire of sacrifice and love, to be dust beneath the feet of others, to see and hear and feel only my Lord. Other times I just want to be left alone. What can be done about this weakness? It’s amazing to think of how the next world will be and how this world is. Is there any contrast between two things in this world that can allude to it? It seems entirely natural that I should wish to be quit of this world and to soar up into my true home, yet there are decades and decades to go. I wish the Kingdom for all of us, for all the victims of disaster and crime. But we must wait. We must do all we can while we are here. God has chosen to establish His Kingdom here on Earth as well, but it will not be accomplished through miracles. It is being built by people. People like me, especially me because, unlike most people, I recognize the Manifestation of God for this age: Baha’u’llah.

It’s an exciting opportunity but also an overwhelming one, and I usually feel the latter more than the former. It’s just annoying. My mind is annoying and my heart is annoying. I want to feel focused all the time but so often I just feel the need to retreat. I don’t know.

I was just checking out this book online. It’s called “The Sociopath Next Door.” A sociopath is basically a person who has absolutely no conscience. Maybe they never have. I’m not sure. Anyways, the author says that studies have shown that it is likely that 4% of Americans are sociopaths. That’s 1 in every 25! That is terrifying! It sure would explain a lot though. Can it really be that many, that many people in the world? I can’t understand it. If you have no conscience then how is your soul at all connected to your body? Not sure where I’m going with this. Just was pretty arresting.

I think I’ve drained my brain for now. Thanks for reading! Love you, whoever you are!

Monday, May 05, 2008

More Things I Like About Being in Korea

- They wash your hair after they cut your hair here, so it washes away all the little cut hairs. Plus, a good haircut only costs $6. (So I had to tip the lady even though they don't expect tips anywhere here.)

- I can still watch Iron Man in a movie theater!

- Random kids offer conversation starters like "Where is the frog?"

- I'm about to have my first iPod. It'll come in real handy for jogging.

- I live alone. I just realized I've always lived alone in China or Korea, but never, ever in America. Weird, but it makes total sense.

- I'm going to have a cellphone soon. It will take good quality pictures, which will solve two problems. 1- I won't have to buy a camera. 2- When I want to take pictures I'll actually have a camera with me. I was the worst about never having my camera with me when I needed it. I also didn't own a camera for ages. Sometimes I wish there were more pictures to remind me of times past. There's almost nothing, not counting family photo albums. Ah well. I'll probably get to watch the whole movie of my life after i die, complete with what other people are thinking and feeling and how my actions rippled out into their lives and the lives of countless people I've never met.

- I've finally really discovered Skype and all its glories. Soon I'll have a web cam and that will highly rock. Can't wait to talk to my nephew and nieces with that! Who knows if I would have gotten around to that in the States.

- It's still way cool that I get to hang with Lex here after hanging with her at Bosch and Evergreen. I always wanted to hang with a friend from the States in a foreign country that we're both living in. Check that off the list.

- I don't have to worry about rent or a car. Plus, all my bills come out of my paycheck. I love it. I'll have to keep up with my pay-as-you-go cellphone and my credit card debt back home but that is it baby!!!

- I'm blogging again.

- My bed is sufficiently hard, something that was almost impossible in the States.

- I'm not hearing or talking about politics, sports, and other things that just cause me stress without giving me much in return, and which I don't have any real affect on.

- I have no TV!!!

- I just uninstalled all the computer games off my computer! If they're there I'll never stop playing them. If they're not I'll just do other things. I'm weird like that. Happens with food too.

- I can't understand a word of what's being said on advertisements, both written and spoken! It's a peaceful, easy feeling.

- I've been able to teach the Faith some already! I realized two things. 1-I'm out of practice. 2-I've got to teach myself more before I can teach much to others.

- There's a spicy, chewy snack here called Dokboki. It's delightfully chewy, quite spicy, and yummy tasty good! The kids are crazy about it, Actually everyone seems to love it. It's a traditional snack. Very Korean. It's basically these chewy pasta-like gobs of dough in a spicy, red sauce.

- I have lots of spare time and my job isn't stressful. I can just screw around in that time, OR I can do lots of productive things like prayer, reading Baha'u'llah's writings, meditating, exercising, studying Korean, reading other Baha'i writings, learning how to be a better teacher, keeping in touch with family, and much, much more!!!!

- I can get real bread right across the street from my work! (As long as I just want a baguette.)

- I'm slowly but surely figuring out this teaching thing. I think I like doing it this way, though the schedule can't be long term. I don't know if I'm really made for teaching back in the States, at least not normal teaching. Teaching ESL to Asian kids could really be my bag though. It's nice to feel that I may be on my career track, or at least that a career track exists in what I'm doing! I can just be doing it for a while and then decide I'm making it into a career. That feels more sustainable than most stuff I've done for work.

- God is with me wherever I go! Closer than my life-vein!