Omar

Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.
— Omar N. Bradley

 

Just wanted to share this quote.

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What are your fears?

What do our fears mean? This question grabbed my attention this evening.

We are taught in this life that fear is a negative thing, and must be something that we have to conquer. I have not thought about it too much, and quickly dismissed it as a natural reaction. But how about viewing it in a more artistic way? How about viewing fear as an amazing act of the imagination?

When we are children, we make up stories about things under our bed and creepy things lurking around in the night. An example in my life would be really wanting a cat when I was younger. I had seen the movie The Mummy, and I was just petrified of mummies from that time on. I desperately wanted a cat because I believed that was the only thing to ward them off. I would often imagine the things that would happen if a mummy would visit us. I created mental pictures and built a plot in my head.

What if we simply called our fears stories? They are unintentional in the way that we don’t even realize that we are making them up constantly. In our fears, the characters are ourselves and we predict all of the things that could go wrong. Our fears make us think about the future and measure possibilities.  We have the ability to time travel to the future. We start to worry and questions start being asked:

“What if I don’t do well at work today?”  “What if my love rejects me?”  “What if my plane blows up and I fall to the earth in a million pieces?” Et cetera. 

We have a choice to act on that fear based on a logical stand point. Think about why we have these fears because how we choose to read our fears is how our lives will play out. Fear makes us act. I hope we all make the right choices whenever fear presents itself.  

What are your fears? What are my fears… 

Never a dull moment in a typical day.

My days are the same yet in many ways different. They become more interesting when I make the effort to notice the stories around me.

A couple of years ago, I would wake up, take a bite of leftovers and be on my way to work. I would come back home, and go to bed. I would feel slightly empty, always looking forward to “later”. Later would come and go, and I would find myself daydreaming again.

My life became different after noticing the little things more. It is so much fun to explain my days now. I get excited telling people about the anecdotes that make up my day.

Every morning I wake up and thank God that I have another day to see the sunrise from our window. Because our view faces the east, we have the pleasure of waking up to fantastic blues and oranges every morning. In the summer we have to be careful though. My sister has woken up with sunburns before. Quite hilarious how I keep forgetting to buy curtains.

After getting out of bed, I write in my morning notes. They say that writing three pages in your journal every morning will help straighten out your life and lead you to where you need to go. It has become quite addicting and I always look forward to venting to the white pages.

My new thing is to watch French movies in the morning. I find it quite classy, don’t you? French movies have such a different style from western ones. My head always feel full the whole day. Plenty of food for thought.

I make my breakfast, which these days consists of spinach salad and fluffy scrambled eggs. After tickling the keys on the piano for a bit, I head off to work. In the morning I run into Mr . Watababe who always insists on buying me bread. I refuse each time because I have a train to catch.

I run past the knife shop and wave to the old man who runs it. By this time I am scurrying to buy my ticket. I hold my bag tight and I run with my head down. I notice the nice designs on the manholes and I tell myself that I’ll take pictures of them someday. I buy my ticket and high five the young train man working at the gate. He started working here about two years ago, and we have been friends ever since.

I whistle while I am on the platform, and the car that I get on is the same one that this elderly gentleman in a wheelchair rides. We have a conversation sometimes. We bump into eachother often, but he always seems surprised to see me.

On my way to work as well, I have some interesting friends. There is the train man at Yarnosato station. We have never talked, but he never hesitates to wave to me and smile. I imagine that he is not as stressed as the others, because nobody looks at you in the eye. They only say “Thank you for riding with us today” in a monotone voice.

The next man is the guard at the supermarket. I always look forward to him giving me a bow with a smile every morning. He shouts and tells me how the weather will be like that day.

There is also the Chinese man who owns the new bikeshop. I say new even though it has been there for over a year and a half. He gives me a nod whenever I pass as well. I bought a bike from there once, but after three months it got stolen. Japan is safe, but that’s the one thing. Bikes get stolen all of the time. If you are not careful like me, they will get pinched right away.

I try to get to work early each day. I do not find rushing pleasant so I leave a half and hour early. I have the most enjoyable job on the planet. I work at an English cafe’ inside a university and I talk to students all day. I feel so lucky after I finish work.

I take a different route back home. I enjoy the change of scenery. I walk briskly to catch the fast train home. I listen to various podcasts and Billy Joel until the Express pulls up at the platform.

After I get back, I have my late lunch. More greens and hot coco. I read whatever book is on my lap and play the piano some more. Depending on my mood I do any of the following: Study a language, paint, sketch , design, write, daydream, or stalk people on Facebook. I just can’t seem to focus on one thing- but it’s great.

I end the day with listening to some Mendelssohn while exersising and/or stretching. I feel exhausted by this time and I hit the hay with my sister. As I sink into the covers, I thank God again for the day.

Like clock-work, I wake up at exactly the same time. At six in the morning the day starts all over for me again. My days are the same ,but different.

I am now on my way home , and my sister will meet me and walk me back. I had three different kinds of cake today along with fabulous Japanese food. I find myself with such great people- how can I not be thankful? I am Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow will bring . 

Thank you so much.

You cannot eat beauty.

Tonight, I watched a beautiful clip about beauty and how women view themselves. I grew up in a homeschooling family so I did not have the chance to compare myself to other girls in school, but I still thought I had it bad.  There are so many opportunities for young girls to compare yourselves to those around you. Their lives become centered on the stars of the media. The so-called “beautiful people”.

Even though I was not in a social situation each day during my early teens, hormones and adolescence hit me hard as it does most. I started skipping meals and took out sugar and carbs out of my diet as a start. Thinking that this would make me “pretty”, I was excited for the day when I would look like those models we see in the magazines. The day never came, and I was left disappointed and in my mind’s eye, still plump.

The thought of food and eating inhabited every part of my brain. I would do calorie calculations in my head every time I took a bite out of something. It engulfed my life and sucked out the enjoyment in every day. I obviously was not on a good mental path and it would have become serious before long.

I can not remember exactly what changed me, but it felt like I healed myself. I realized that I did not want to be hostage to all of these negative thoughts- and I made an effort to think positively. When you are kind to yourself, and start to love who you are, you slowly begin to accept your flaws. That is when the metamorphosis begins. It takes time, but with time, you start to forget the shell that you were trapped in.

It is a great feeling when you are no longer have the mental shackles that tell you that you are not good enough. That you are not pretty enough.

You can always try to be the best you, but it will not make you happy. You cannot eat beauty. You can not rely on how you look to sustain you. How grateful you are is what will make the difference. If you continue to think positive thoughts, the flower inside of you cannot help but to grow.

Why didn’t I give?

I am always so hesitant to give homeless people money. I’m sure the majority of us does not mean it intentionally.

We don’t want to give into their pleas perhaps because subconsciously we believe that we have earned the money while they didn’t take opportunities or chances to work. I always worry that if I give them money that they will just spend it on alcohol or cigarettes. Sounds harsh, I know. But in some countries, like here in Japan, it’s hard to tell.

Some time last year, I decided to go out and draw some billboards near Dotonbori bridge. It is not dangerous in the area, but sometimes it can be a tad shady. I take out the water-colors one by one, and people passing by see that I am drawing the area. They comment and tell me I’m doing a good job. However, they do not stay and people who took interest eventually go on their way. I love talking to people, and I enjoy it when people seem to take a liking to my art.

Half way into my second drawing, a man in slightly tattered clothes comes up to me as well. His beard is unbrushed and he smells a bit unpleasant. He is obviously homeless. He comments on my art and we start having a conversation. I enjoyed the first few minutes I talked to him, until he mentioned that I must have spare money to give him. I felt my walls go up instantly.

I actually didn’t have much on me, but because he was being so relentless I told him that I had none to give and that all I had was enough for my train ride home. He didn’t believe me and still insisted that I give him money. I told him I had none, and he eventually gave up and I went back home.

On the train, I felt very guilty. “Why didn’t I give him anything?” “Am I selfish?” “He’s probably out there freezing now”.

Why did I choose not to give him the money? Do we only give when we feel like it is our idea, and we put ourselves on a pedestal of “I am such a kind person to give up my precious dollar”?

There are always two sides to the same coin. Perhaps I was right in an economical sense by not giving. Apparently it is not good to give to the extra needy because it will lead to something called “rent exhaustion”. The more you give to beggers, the more beggers will try.

I believe my thinking was wrong. I realized that I was being greedy with money when there will always be coins in my purse tomorrow. Despite the possibility of him buying alcohol, despite whatever problems he had in his life, I had the chance to give. Giving should be a priority, not just to the homeless, but to the people around you. It never hurts to give a little more.

This post shall end with a quote that comes to mind:

 

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ― Winston S. Churchill

Phoney words.

Is it bad to use “phoney words” in your vocabulary?

“They’re grand people.” “Yes, they are. They’re very nice.” Grand. There’s a word I really hate. It’s a phony. I could puke every time I heard it”.

This dialog I read from “The Catcher in the Rye” this morning. We throw words around so easily these days. We twist meanings and overuse them. Before you know it, all of the meaning and life gets sucked out and we are left with people with lips that only speak empty words.

When I was fifteen, I realized I did this myself. I was friends with the harmonica player of the bar band and he was complaining how the young generation overused the word “awesome”.

“The party was so awesome. My gosh this is such an awesome drink. It kind of depresses me. I’ll teach you what is awesome. The Grand Canyon is awesome…. A sunrise is awesome. It had so much more power and now you use it to fill silence. I try to only use it when I mean it.”

I suppose that was his own little way to contribute to the preservation of the English language.

I did not instantly start choosing my words carefully. Slang is slang and it becomes such a habit. Changing from such comfortable usage to carefully choosing your words can be challenging for most.

It shows how you think and what kind of person you are. They say speech is where the body and soul meet. Which is why you must always be careful with what you say because it effects every aspect of your life. Your words become thoughts- your thoughts shape your reality.

So! As of soon, I would like to remove “phoney” words from my vocabulary if I do not mean them.

My list would probably look like:

  • Awesome
  • Great
  • Busy
  • Fun
  • Exciting
  • Amazing
  • Good
  • Epic
  • Cool
  • Neat
  • Crazy
  • Okay
  • Whatever
  • Forever

What are your phoney words?