Culture of vulnerability.
Leader: How do we create a culture of vulnerability?
Student: Well you just gotta be vulnerable to expect vulnerability, you know? Sometimes you just gotta grab it by the balls and–
Me: Uhm. That’s not true.
Leader: What do you think, Makari?
Me: To create a culture of vulnerability, you can’t just be vulnerable, you have to be willing to accept the other person in their state. I can tell you all day how I feel but that doesn’t mean anything until someone else listens. You can’t just grab vulnerability by the balls. It’s not a culture of vulnerability when one person just talks about how they feel. There has to be a safe space to create vulnerability as a culture.
Creating a culture of vulnerability around you isn’t about a few people “being open” about what they are going through. The receiving end is just as important as the giving end. If it isn’t received well, then the vulnerability gets “wasted” in a sense. One bad vulnerable experience can cause a person to never want to give themselves away like that again. If you can’t receive someone’s vulnerable state, I would suggest not letting the exchange even happen. When you want to ask someone how they are doing, but don’t expect an honest answer in return, do the other person a favor and don’t ask.
I’m someone that has no problem being real about the place that I’m in. Being real and being vulnerable are two different things. Vulnerability is where you open yourself up and are susceptible to emotional harm, whereas being real, or being transparent, allows you to be seen without the openness of being harmed.
Knowing which place you are in is important in knowing how to respond when people are talking to you.
When I am in a vulnerable state, I am very careful whom I let in or whom I talk with, because if I’m not, I can be hurt pretty easily. The last thing I want to do to myself when I am susceptible to pain, is to add more pain. I often don’t go out to parties or events, or hang out in groups, not because I don’t want to, but because I know that in my state, I am more likely to be hurt than helped.
People often confuse authenticity with vulnerability. Authenticity; being your genuine self, vs vulnerability; being raw, open and susceptible to pain. While vulnerability can be placed under authenticity, being authentic doesn’t necessarily mean being vulnerable.
When you are being your genuine self, that doesn’t mean you need to open yourself up to being susceptible to harm, but it generally does mean being transparent about who you are.
When we are in a state of vulnerability, people often commend us for being brave for talking about what we are going through, but what they don’t understand is that the way they treat us in our vulnerable state is really what changes us. Whether they commend us and then ignore us, or don’t react in a way they ought to, it’s the action of those we are vulnerable with that determines how we feel afterwards. Like I said earlier, one bad vulnerable experience can cause a person to never want to give themselves away like that again.
Sometimes, in a vulnerable state we are unfair to others because we put that pressure on them to do or say or be what we need them to be. It shouldn’t be on them if that isn’t what they want. Which is why creating a culture of vulnerability isn’t nearly as easy as it could be or maybe should be. There are always other factors in play that cause a culture of being raw to take 500 times the effort than we assume that it should.
It isn’t fair to others when we are in a vulnerable state to expect them to know that or be there for us. Which is where transparency comes in play. We need to get to a place that we can be transparent about our situation and the help we need, but not necessarily be vulnerable like we are, until it is the right space for us to do so. That’s hard. That takes dedication and allowing yourself to be open to people, but not open to pain at the same time. It requires people around you that you trust to help you in your vulnerability, so that you can be transparent in a group of people without getting hurt.
The responses are different. The way you explain how you are feeling to the people with your trust in vulnerability will be different internally for you than the responses you give to people who aren’t ready for it.
We can’t expect everybody to be ready to handle us in a vulnerable place when they were just grabbing a coffee and saw you sitting in the shop, or at the grocery store, or even at church, and decided to ask us how we are. We expect a lot of others, more than we should, when really it’s our responsibility to ourselves to give out our vulnerability to those who can take care of it.
It’s a precious gift to hold what is dear to someone else. Creating an entire culture with those who do that is a tremendous joy that is rarely found. I found it once, and I’m not sure I ever will again, but I do look for it and long for it on a daily basis. When you know something spectacular truly exists, it changes everything about the way you live your life.
The moment things started going downhill for me, I knew it was happening. I knew how to stop it, and I knew how much it would hurt me.
Doing the right thing, taking the right actions, and letting the wrong arrows of other peoples choices pierce through your heart in order to make the better choice rarely feels like it’s worth it until later.
I made a choice. I chose to do the right thing for the situation I was put in, but I also made a very active choice not to do the right thing for myself. I was tired of taking care of myself, and always looking at the bright side. I was tired of being nice to everyone else and receiving the shit end of the stick in return. I made an active choice to not go through the right process of grieving and pain and to let myself be bitter instead, because it felt better. All I knew that I wanted was temporary ease. I hadn’t felt like I had been able to be angry at God or people or circumstances previously because I always knew it wouldn’t be the right thing to do, and because I have always wanted to do the right thing for the longterm. This time, I was taking anger at full force. You fuck with me, you lose me and I didn’t care at all.
It’s amazing how fast anger can take hold of your thoughts, your lifestyle, your being. I felt pain at every turn. I saw words twist from helpful to detrimental in split seconds as they soar from one person’s mouth into my ears. I’ve never known myself to be as cruel as I felt or as careless as I was. I didn’t care about anyone else, and why would I? No one stood up for my character when I was being torn apart and for that I was angry. I didn’t want to care.
Anger puts this film over your eyes that causes every wonderful thing to look harmful. It changes every friend into a foe, and every light into fire. No one is safe.
If only I had chose to grieve, chose to deal with my anger, chose to silence my bitter thoughts. Had I, I wouldn’t have gotten to the point of contemplating death every moment of every day. I became defeated.
If you saw me, you would know. I could not stop the tears and I could not stop the pain; all I wanted was for it to end. I understand depression. I understand suicide. I understand pain.
There was a time I would have asked of a depressed friend to live, even only if it was for me. I now know I can never ask that of anybody. I cannot ask for someone to endure pain for my comfort, or live through terror for the “someday” that might come and be peaceful. I cannot ask for life of somebody else, I can only enter their space and give them everything I have to give. It’s crucial.
Depression is a hand, holding, crushing, dragging you into the depths of the earth, into the pit of despair, with no branches strong enough to break your fall and no comfort long enough to take a deep breath. Depression is a weight of a hundred horses treading on top of the canopy of blankets you try to hide under just to find a moment where your mind can be silent. Depression is… a venomous snake wrapped so tightly around your body you cannot breathe but with every pulse of your heartbeat you know it’s the end… Depression… is an ocean of breathtaking pain.
I see the world with that pain in my eyes, much in the same way I used to see it with beauty.
If you know how I feel then you know what I mean. Good things that happen don’t make up for what we see behind the wall we’re so desperately trying to build to keep the horde of pain and anger at bay. It’s terrifying to watch that wall being broken apart and running out of the strength to keep building. It’s almost as if you drop that wall and run as fast as you can to add distance before turning around and building again. It’s coming and you see it; you feel it… and then you make one mistake and it swarms around you from all sides; all you have left is a little tent to cry in.
If you know then you know. And if you don’t, now you do.
A bad day.
Today’s a bad day.
I can’t help but feel like everything I want is just out of reach. I knelt on the floor to look in a box, but instead found myself sobbing in my own arms. I can’t imagine getting up, it’s as if gravity is winning over my mind. Mentally, I don’t feel well enough to fight it; my soul is damaged by hurt and pain. How can I try to get up when even trying entails pushing against a ceiling that won’t budge?
What is wrong with me. It’s like I am trying to get this thing out of my head, this thing that is killing me, this thing called pain.
Today’s a bad day.
I lay my head back on the floor with a Bible weighted against my chest, trying to find a moment of encouragement, but all I feel are questions that He knows I cannot answer. Who is even asking me? All I need is one moment of clarity. The kind of clarity that makes you feel better, not worse; that’s all I’m asking for, please. Instead, I feel defeated every step of the way.
I can’t get the tears to stop soaking my face and I keep trying because if they get in my hair it’s gonna make my hair wet. I don’t want one more annoyance right now.
Today’s a bad day.
I’m supposed to be getting up, I need to get ready for my night. If I don’t go out I’m going to regret it, but for some reason I still can’t pick myself up. The tears seem to flow harder every time that I try. My hair is definitely wet.
I’m trying to text people for help, but no one is around. Aren’t I supposed to be having a good day? I’m trying to keep the happy times I’ve just had in mind but somehow that only makes me cry harder because I want those happy times to stay.
What the fuck is wrong with me.
I want to leave the country every day. I want to be somewhere that my pain is not, but the problem is that I can never outrun myself. It’s sad that I even want to do that. If it’s internal I should be able to fix it, right? I should be able to just tell it to shut up and it should leave me alone because it’s my own pain, right? I should be able to fix it.. why won’t you just stop torturing me.. Pain, please go away.
Today’s a bad, bad day. I could never wish it on anyone.
I have done so many things in 2018.
I started the year by opening a restaurant with one of my favorite people. Led by the most heartbreaking betrayal of my entire life. I left the state, then the country, followed by my niceties, my positivity and my trust. I said, “fuck you” to the world for being so unkind to me, and I started checking things off my bucket list.
- London… Royal Tunbridge Wells… Edinburgh… Dublin… Bogotá…
- I got my motorcycle license and bike (thank you, Christian).
- I got halfway through writing my own book.
- I started learning guitar.
- I learned how to do spray paint art.
- I flew to other states; sometimes for one show, one person, or one night.
Nothing that I did could help the aching feeling I had. I lost all hope. I couldn’t get off my floor. I was at the airport every week. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t find peace. Nothing made me happy. Every good thing was too late. Life was too hard. Running was too hard. Staying still was defeating. I didn’t think I would make it one more step. I ran out of tears. I ran out of pain. I ran out of feelings.
I was numb.
From looking at all the things that I did, it looks like I had a good year; flying all over the world, accomplishing goals and meeting new people. I can tell you I don’t give a shit about any of it; from my point of view, it was the hardest year of my life. Although the trips were good, and I have memories that I will keep with me forever, in my personal life I’ve never felt more alone and I’ve never felt more defeated. I was mentally at my end. Five months ago, I couldn’t even hold a conversation because my mind would go blank the moment I tried to think words. Today, I can finally write about my feelings. It’s insane to me that I went through what I did. Life can change in a moment, and sometimes there is nothing you can do to prepare for it.
I got very angry at a lot of people; for good reason. I reached out to people for help every step of the way and got shut down by 80 percent of them. If I let those statistics be my ground for trusting people, I would never trust again. My anger was affecting every good emotion I had left. Soon, I had nothing but anger and pain mixed with my numbness.
I am still dealing with my anger, my pain, and my numbness. I may not always have the kindest responses and I may still burn with anger inside at the smallest things. That’s what anger does, it kills you from the inside out. If you let it keep growing, it will eventually take over every bit of you until you are only bitter.
I’m on the upside. I am learning to stop and breathe instead of letting the anger continue. It still hurts and it still feels good to let that anger out, but I am choosing to kill it with kindness once again.
In case you see me around, remember to be kind to me as I am still getting through this. You never know when people are really hurting inside.
P.S. Thank you to everyone who took me in, fed me, kept an eye on me, and loved me in the days I couldn’t love myself.
I’m more than a mess.
I feel like I’m falling apart. The words I want to scream are, “Somebody help me!”
Why is life so hard? Why do I feel like I can’t get through one traumatic experience before another one starts? I can’t keep going on like this; feeling this pain. When will I get better? I feel cracked in a thousand pieces and nothing relives the pain, it only temporarily holds the cracks together but not even long enough for me to take a deep breath before the change in my lungs causes them to be reopened. Ahhhhhhhhh. I feel a billion needles in my heart, not enough to kill me but enough to cause a panic through my body that slumps me to my knees. Thank god I’m not in public. The pain becomes too much for me sometimes, and the fear of falling on my face is more real than you can imagine. I often wonder if my arms will even catch me when I crumble.
I can’t be the only one who feels this way, there have to be more people like me. I know they’re out there and I write this to you.
I want you to know that I am with you in your pain. That I feel every punch that you feel and every knife that you swallow. I can tell you that it gets better and that it’s worth it, but you know as much as I do and you know how bad those words hurt, so I won’t say it again. I don’t want you to die from the same pain I feel, because I’m pushing through it every day. I might not have any answers or solutions but what I do have is my life. With it, I plan to be the best friend that I can be and the best person in the darkest days. If it were easy, I would write you a handbook. Instead, I am writing you this; that I am still in process and I don’t know how it will turn out. There are days that keeping a smile on my face feels impossible.
The good news is… well I don’t know yet, but I’m gonna find it if there is something. I think that’s what keeps me walking through this; I have to know that if there is an upside to this, I will find it.
I know there is positive to everything and I will stand by my motto that everything happens for a reason. I do not doubt that my sorrow has a purpose, but sometimes I just wish I could be the dumbest person in the world and not have to go through any of this. It feels like the more you know, the more pain there is.
When you feel like there are more days than not that you are stuck in your pain, I want you to remember this:
- You still have your life.
- You’ve got so much to live for (and I’m telling this to myself as much as you), you can’t give up yet.
- Vulnerability is a strong suit, not a weakness.
Reach out. People want to be there for you if you let them (and if they won’t, screw them, I will.)
You don’t have to ever feel alone in your pain, even when that’s the only thing you do feel.
How to make 2019 your breakthrough year.
Hi everybody, welcome back to my blog.
Today I want to talk to you about how 2019 can be your year of breakthrough for the things you’ve been wanting to see happen in your life.
Let’s start off by getting a sheet of paper and titling it, “First Steps to Breakthrough.” Now, think for a moment of one of the things that you want to see breakthrough in this year, and write that in a bulletpoint on the left of the page. As you think about that thing, can you imagine what the first step to getting there might look like? When you think of it, write that on the left side of the page like this example:
- Acting career. First Step: Write out resume.
Below this, write out your second, third and forth steps in this process.
Second Step: Find a friend to photograph and video tape.
Third Step: Put together video reel.
Forth Step: Research talent managers and agencies.
Let’s call this process, “Four Steps to Starting Success.” Since breakthrough is a success no matter what type of breakthrough it is. You don’t need to continue on with steps 5-800 because starting really is the hardest part. Once you have the first four steps down, you should be able from there to continue on with the process and build your castle of breakthrough. Once you can see the foundation for your goals, the rest starts being built in your imagination and possibilities you never thought of start coming to your mind. Sometimes when we create a long list of things we have to do, we easily get stressed out over the entirety of it and lose our motivation for even beginning the first step. Let’s not overwhelm our brains and cause anxiety over something that we can easily do given the right steps and the right headspace.
Having the right headspace for beginning 2019 in a way that has you believing that everything is possible (heck, you can even change genders now) is very important. Learning to let the anxiety and previous hardships melt to the foreground while your main focus becomes clear and precise, is not an easy thing to do! Eventually it becomes habitual, but to start off without knowing how to separate your feelings from your present moment of life can feel overwhelming and hard to process how you will ever start what you’ve been dying inside to do.
To learn more about shifting your perspective for a clear mind, I suggest you start by paying attention to your thought process. What you think about often becomes your reality. It’s hard to be upset all the time when your thought life is consistently telling you that things are okay and that you are not the things that happen to you. Once you start to grasp hold of how your mind thinks towards the information it’s been given, shifting that process to allow for a clearer mind becomes easier.
As you finish the steps to each of your goals, you get to cross off the ones you’ve completed! What a victory that is, to see yourself on your way to getting the desires of your heart fulfilled this year. There’s nothing hard about completing one step, and after that, one more, and one more and so on. The part that gets us all caught up about the goals that we have is thinking of doing all the steps at once. When we break down the beginning of that whole process, it doesn’t seem very difficult at all.
Welcome to the beginning of completing your goals for the rest of your life.
Being a self aware person.
We go through life a lot of the time very unaware of our surroundings. Walking down the street or interacting with the cashier at the grocery store, we are generally just going through the motions and not acknowledging what is around us. People have feelings, and we ourselves have feelings. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want to be 50yrs old and finally realizing that I haven’t been aware my whole life. I’m a generally aware person, paying attention to other people and their reactions and lifestyles, but I encounter a majority of people who are not aware of their surroundings at all. Why is that?
Everybody’s lives revolve in their own head; what they believe is their own life and experiences. We can’t assume that they are being rude when really they are only unaware of things around them. Is that selfish? Maybe. But how would they know any better if they don’t realize themselves that they are unaware? I think it takes an eye-opening experience to understand that you yourself are unaware. In the same way that people don’t know what pain really is until they have experienced it, and in the way that people don’t really know how to truly live until they know death. Not have died, but have experienced a death or a near death. Life is so unbelievably awesome and we don’t understand it until we experience it.
I want to bring to your attention that people who you think are being rude, may not actually think that’s what they are doing. Even this morning, at my hostel in Dublin, one of the people in my room got up at first light (5am) and proceeded to pack all of his stuff up in the center of the room, hitting the bed frames and not paying attention at all to how loud he was. Now, I thought about it for a little bit because I wasn’t sure if I should peak around my curtain and say, “Uhm, excuse me… are you serious right now?” But then I thought, ‘I don’t think this man is actually trying to be rude, I think he is genuinely unaware.’ And with that in mind I could smile and feel at peace and just wait it out.
Why does that make me feel any better? Because he doesn’t know. How can I possibly be mad at somebody who doesn’t know? Should people have common sense? Yes. But who am I to know how they have grown up and what their life experiences are? I got to look at it this way – I was awake early; more time to explore the city; and I got to have another moment practicing peace.
Life is uncomfortable, but learning peace in the discomfort can be an incredible experience. I’m not worried about losing two hours of sleep, because there is no point in being upset and something that happened. It happened, and now it is my goal to find peace in it.
I love getting to practice what I preach, it reminds me of the journey that I am on to always be better. When I am not growing in myself, I feel more dead than ever.
Growing, learning, experiencing life; all change who you are and the life you will continue to lead. Find peace in the moments that you could be frustrated in. Have grace for people who are unaware and understand that they need help in that area, just as you need help in another. We are all learning and growing in life, let’s be patient with where other people are at in their process.
With love, Makari Asriel
Often times we end up taking more from the world than we give into it. Looking for things that make our own lives more comfortable but not adding anything of our own to making the world a better place. Giving all that we have to the people around us becomes a rarity. Hospitality is no longer what it used to be as more and more people only live for themselves these days. Becoming somebody who is known is looked at as becoming somebody awful, but that’s only because people have been living for themselves more than living to give to others. What will become of the world when there are no more decent people left? I’d like to never find out, and I’d like the generations after me to never find out.
There are good people in the world, they’ve just become harder to fine. That’s why you’ll find me here, wishing, waiting, wandering… Spending my time, energy and resources on things that will make the world around me a better place; a wonderful place; a world full of awe, of love and of peace. I will be here, taking in every moment that comes my way and treating it with honor and respect.
We don’t want to become people who take more than they give, and we don’t want to give more than we have. Search for things that make you come alive in order to keep on giving what you receive to others, that way they may then do the same. When you find someone who gives you what they have, sit with them and learn from them, and when it is time to leave, take with you that knowledge of kindness and give it away.
Kindness isn’t ever a thing we hold to ourselves; it is gifted so that it may be given. Kindness is a virtue of strength that gives the world around us a hope for better things.
Learn to give what you have in order to never take more than what is given to you. Go on a journey and love the world around you the whole way along. Find peace in every circumstance, and joy in every pain. One of the best things to do when you feel down is to help somebody else.
You cannot give up when you love deeply, and you cannot give in to hate when you fill your heart with kindness. Find your peace and comfort in loving others well, and that love will always return to you in the most astonishing ways.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now; living a realistic lifestyle versus an unrealistic one. Some people find the 1st option very comforting; others find the 2nd to be life giving. For me, as a very “unrealistic” person, I find realism in living quite boring and honestly quite a bit more stressful. Not that I have any backup plan for my life, which alone can stress people out, but I do have an understanding that if everything completely fails me, I will just start back with new ideas and try again. I can start from scratch over and over, and I’m not afraid to do that because I’m not afraid of failing. It doesn’t work? Try again. I don’t only have one goal in life, I feel like a have hundreds. Mainly, in all my goals I just want to be happy, so I do what brings me happiness and joy. We don’t know how long we have in this world and I personally will be very disappointed if I die without doing all the things I set my heart on.
There is enough heartache in the world, and I refuse to be brought down by it. When I try to realistically plan something out, 1st off it doesn’t go as planned and 2nd, I become very negatively attached to the circumstance (i.e. that costs money, that takes time, what am I going to do when I get there, am I going to starve?). Whereas, when I decide in my unrealistic mind that I should do something, it more often than not becomes a very wonderful experience and I always figure it out. Like exploring the area that I end up in or asking around to find cute little local spots or walking into a place I’ve never been. The feeling that you get when you first experience something new is unlike any other feeling you will have. Learn how to savor that instead of walking around with a shade over your eyes.
Something I learned; look up. No matter where you are or how many times you’ve seen the area, look up. You can always find something new when your gaze goes upward, but your mind drifts internally when you look toward the ground.
I find it strange that people listen to my stories and comment, “that would ONLY ever happen to you,” when all I ever did was ask for things to happen. People often don’t ask for things they want. Know someone in another country? Why don’t you ask if you can go visit? Don’t have the money? Why don’t you ask if they will help pay for it? There isn’t harm in asking, the worst would be that they say no. If you have ingrained in yourself that asking is a sign of weakness, go ahead and break that mindset. Asking is a strength. As a Christian, asking God for things is one of the only ways we are going to start receiving without working our tail off to get it. He does give without asking because He knows what we need and wants to bless us, but when we ask for what we want to see happen, things start to shift. Words are some of the most powerful tools we have; we often do not have because we do not ask.
I ask for things ALL the time and most of those times the answers are no! Receiving no as an answer doesn’t offend me; there are so many factors that go into someone’s answer, who am I to be offended? I get to manage me and my emotions in all circumstances. Offense isn’t in my handbook for success, nor is negativity or hate. Positivity, kindness and generosity, however, are very key points in the virtual handbook of my life. Being considerate to all people and keeping an attitude of respect for my own life and the lives I encounter is how I choose to live my best life. Asking for things doesn’t take away from those life goals and it doesn’t make me weaker for asking, everyone has choices and a lot of people want to help.
Don’t be afraid to live your life more spontaneously. Break down the barrier you have that says asking for things isn’t okay. You don’t have to be totally in control of what happens in your life, you just need to manage you; your responses, emotions and lifestyle choices. You’ve got it all in you to have a wonderful life, all you need to do is access it within you.
Find the best parts of who you are and bring those to the forefront of your life. Look for the attractive qualities you see in others and find those within yourself, then keep searching until you become the person you want to be in life.
The joy of being uncomfortably in pain.
I’ve had this conversation with two people this last week, and because I’ve had it on my mind I thought I would write it out. Being in pain from life situations is such a good place to be in. There are a lot of things that cause pain in life, and being able to walk through those times is so beautiful. We know that when we get through it, we will be changed. It’s how we change that we get to determine as we walk through the process.
When we walk through pain we have so many reasons to give up, to numb ourselves, or to become less of a person by being really uncomfortable, maybe even giving in to acting different than we are worth just to get by.
A friend once taught me that sitting in uncomfortable situations was so powerful, because it teaches you to be okay no matter where you find yourself. That you are still in control of your reactions and how you handle the moment. At the time, just the thought of staying in an uncomfortable situation would stress me out so much that I could barely believe him. When I actually allowed myself to sit in the awkwardness of uncomfortable situations, I found that I was teaching my heart to relax in stressful moments, I was teaching my body that it was okay to feel what it was feeling and I was informing my soul that it could be at peace no matter how it felt at the time.
I challenged myself to take deep breaths, soak in the moment and feel every feeling so I could work through it instead of around it. Now, when I find myself going through a time that feels really uncomfortable or painful, I don’t feel as scared with not knowing the outcome. I trust that I will work through it to the best of my ability.
Sometimes what we want is to always know how things will turn out, but how does that teach us patience, grace, or trust? If we know at the beginning of a relationship that they will cheat or leave us, we wouldn’t go into it. But then we also wouldn’t learn to grow in love when it hurts, or to work through deep pain and problems which grow us as a person. Nobody wants deep pain in their lives, but everybody has to go through it, it’s what makes this life and our world what it is. You have the people who run from the pain and don’t feel anything at all. You have the people who let the pain rule their life and never move on to what they are supposed to be. And you have the people who feel the pain, understand that it doesn’t control their lives, work through it and become better and more helpful people who end up making their life what it deserves to be.
I strive to be someone who works through pain in such a way that it actually changes me, grows me, and helps me become a person that is fearless of new things and uncomfortable situations. The possibility that it could be the greatest adventure of my life fuels me to work through every pain that comes my way.
Pain is what makes us human, makes us know that we are capable of feeling love and kindness. Pain comes from feeling, and feelings drive us to be either great or wicked people. Pain tells us that we are alive.
My thoughts, my year.
I want to learn how to be extremely good at making goals in my life and learning how to keep them. We all know that people make the most goals at this time of year than any other time. I’m also sure that you all know how many of those goals aren’t kept. The last few years I’ve struggled making goals at all because the disappointment of failing myself is such an annoyance. Like making a promise to somebody and knowing that you may not keep it. What an awful feeling… I made an agreement to myself a few years ago that I never want to ever break a promise. I WILL NOT promise anybody anything until I am willing to keep it. It’s the same for me with forgiveness. If I cannot agree to let go and forgive somebody for something, knowing I will never be able to hold it against them again, I will not forgive them until I am ready. The people that are closest to my heart know this about me and understand that when I say “I promise,” they don’t have to question or doubt it. Making goals for my year is such a huge deal because it’s similar to a promise for me. It’s saying, “I will do this.”
I agree with goals! I think they are extremely helpful to people. Without goals, our motivation is how we get things done. If you lose your motivation, oh boy, you had better have some type of conviction to make things happen. I’ve found that my lack of goals and my lack of motivation in the last six months has basically made me incapable of making things happen. My only successes have been through convictions. I’m not saying that is bad, but there are so many better ways for things to get done. I did things in the last six months knowing that I was only doing them because I knew I needed to, not because I really wanted them or even had the desire at the time for them to happen. The joy that those decisions were supposed to bring never came and I’m still stuck in the unknown wondering what I am supposed to do about it now.
Not having goals for my next year is only going to shut down my desires even more. I’m making the decision this year to make goals and teach myself to complete them, not out of fear of failure, but out of the desire for every year of my life to be better than the last. I never want to stop growing, learning, following, desiring, or loving in my life. There is so much that we as humans can accomplish in our days and in ours lives, but we often only look at the difficulties and struggles, allowing ourselves to forget that we can still have the joy and fulfillment of successes no matter how small or inconvenient they may seem.
Maybe you’re in the same place as me, trying to find the motivation to do more with your days or with your life. Tired of feeling stuck and telling yourself that tomorrow you are going to go out and do something about it. This next year is gonna hold the biggest breakthroughs and the greatest feelings of success if only you choose to let it. This moment is when you get to decide to do something about your focus and find new ways to be motivated to make things happen.
My first goal is to focus my attention on the joys of life this year. I desire for this next year to have an impact on how I do life. I choose to give myself a break from feeling bad about how unmotivated I have been, and to encourage myself in new ways that will bring that motivation back. I choose to not hold myself back from accomplishing my desires.
Happy New Year, Makari Asriel
To have a pure heart.
To keep a pure heart in a world where purity is irrelevant is like walking under a waterfall with an umbrella. It’s totally doable, but you’re still getting pounded by all sides.
Shame and judgement are two of the biggest so-called sins in a city of impurity. You’re told you are wrong to feel shame, and wrong to have judgements. Those who you do have shame are basically excluded, or asked why you are so judgmental towards other people.
I’ve been really interested in this topic for a long time, because I can see both sides. On one hand, being free of judgements about other people is good, and to not have shame is good, BUT, the other side is that when you can accept everybody’s life choices as being okay you start to lose the value of purity and the truth that shame is there for a reason. You’ll find in California, and definitely in LA, that everybody is seemingly SO accepting of everybody. That they do their best to keep their judgements to themselves and tell you not to feel shame by your lifestyle or choices. This can be so inviting and wonderful, feeling as though you aren’t a terrible person or a sinner for the smallest betrayal of your purity and of yourself. So many of these people teach you that it is okay to live in impurity, because that’s what is expected, and if you don’t you aren’t being accepting of people. There is shame on having a Godly (or pure) lifestyle, but more than that there is shame in making good decisions for your best health, well-being and wholeness. There is some truth to what these people believe, but when something is built on mostly truth and still has lies involved, is it really to be trusted?
Here’s what has happened to me since I moved here; I feel like I have been sucked into this notion that everything is accepted and along with that comes the idea that everything is okay to do as long as you feel like you should do it, or it gives you any sense of pleasure. This notion says that jealousy is not allowed and that you should work hard for everything no matter how it goes against your boundaries or your heart, because it’s about the outcome, the strength of being your own person and the vulnerability of sharing your experiences with everybody. The way that I feel here is that I could do anything I want, be anybody I want and tell everybody about it without shame… unless it stays within my boundaries and remains a so-called pure decision, that’s when I want to stay silent because it goes against their beliefs that everything is acceptable and should be experienced. If I have to turn somebody down for my decision, it becomes a selfish act that I am not willing to help somebody else fulfill their needs. People don’t want any type of no, they want every type of yes and THAT’s what’s scary about a whole city that chooses to accept you for your impurity.
I’ve been so open to fit into this culture that I have longed to be in my whole life and now that I’ve seen the affect that it has on me, and to feel like I’m just supposed to laugh off people who make immoral decisions, I don’t want to agree with it anymore. I had so much peace coming here, and I lost that peace by allowing my mind and heart to go against myself and trying to fit in to this accepting notion. I’m not down with it. I value my heart, my mind, my body and my soul enough to keep them in wholeness by the lifestyle I choose to live in.
By going against the truth and purity we have in ourselves, we end up damaging our souls to the point of not being able to find the answers to fulfill our desires of being a complete person.
People trying to have no judgement at all of others actually open themselves up for having the biggest judgement of all; going against their nature to find happiness in the in-completion of themselves by having real judgements of those who are being true to themselves. To continually judge others on the decisions they make to protect their heart is only causing yourself to continually need to find fault in others to fill that desire of wanting everything to be okay. And that doesn’t seem to be free of judgements to me.
True joy is found in wholeness, true love is found in devotion, and true happiness can be found in the building up of others where boundaries and purity are found.
I believe judgements are good when they allow you make the purest decisions for yourself based on what your heart, mind, and body need to be whole. Selfish? Maybe. But it’s the right kind of selfish.
Learn yourself, love yourself, and be true to yourself. You will surpass those who judge you and become great. The greatest people in history did what they needed to do, not based on the judgements of others, but on the purity of themselves.
Be expectant for your future.
Moving to LA has been very different than I am used to, yet so satisfying at the same time. A whirlwind of emotions. I’m quite happy here, but I also have feelings throughout everyday that I don’t understand yet. What I do know for certain is that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Who knows how long or for what purpose, but the peace that I have is unmistakable.
I came not knowing, and with no plan of what to do next, but I also came with the expectancy that something great is about to change my life. Without that, I’m a 22yr old living in a big city for no reason at all. I’ve prepared my whole life for this moment and still I feel unprepared. How does someone expect to know anything without the experience of living it? They can imagine, and hope, and dream forever about what that decision will be like, but without living it, there is no way to tell. Each person is different, and says “yes” and “no” to different things to get where they are. I said “yes” to LA when I was a kid, and now so many years later I am here. My 15yr old self would be looking at me and telling me that I was living the dream.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget where our hearts and minds used to be because we live in today, and yesterday is not our worries anymore. But yesterday is what made our today what it is. Memories are what make our lives what they are. Without our emotions of yesterday, we lose the idea of the privilege that is today.
Living is LA wouldn’t mean to me what it does if I hadn’t expected this moment for so long. Expectancy is sometimes the only thing that will keep us looking forward to what our lives could be. It’s the hope for what we believe in our hearts to happen.
I have to remind myself, in the moments that I just want to curl up with my best friends and watch a movie like we normally would, that I am where I need to be, and that today is my future’s yesterday. Today’s memories are what will make me who I am in years to come. Wishing to be back in my comfort zone is only going to make me wish again that I were here.
Life is what you make it, and other times it happens to you. Either way life will keep happening. Don’t get stuck in today, but recognize that today is the history for your life tomorrow.
Finding truth in your belief system.
How do you know that what you believe is really true?
Growing up we were taught belief systems from the people who raised us and those we were around. We were taught that this is truth and reality. Is it? Maybe not… That was their truth and reality. Ours is very different. Their beliefs are from their childhood and from the influences in their lives. They are also based on their gifts and passions. Do you see where I’m going with this? I find myself in situations where I’m led to question what I believe or else I tend to get hurt by what someone else believes. I really do have a choice in those moments. Do I believe what I was taught as truth? Or do I question myself to find what I truly believe about the situation?
My parents chose their reality. They didn’t necessarily choose how they were raised or the reasons they feel how they do about certain subjects, but they chose at some point that they were gonna believe that it was the truth, whatever it happened to be. Those choices influenced my childhood, and will continue on to influence my children, for better or for worse. I get to points in my life all the time where I know that I have a choice in the decisions I am about to make; I can follow what I was taught and continue to make that my reality, or I can discover my own truth.
My best friend has very different views than me on many topics. He was raised different, very different, and his reality isn’t anything like mine. Some things I believe don’t hold as high of value in his life, and vise versa. It’s just not the same. Does that mean one of us is right and the other wrong? Not necessarily. We are different people, allowed to have our different beliefs based on the reality of our life and experiences. He gets his truth by the beliefs that he was surrounded by and the choices he’s made to solidify them. I get the opportunity to understand how his beliefs make sense to him so that I can better accumulate my beliefs for myself and become more open to new opinions.
(I will say, there are some beliefs that should be unchanging in your life, but always be open to understanding why someone else believes what they do.)
I can explain this another way by talking about music. We all have different tastes, correct? I may LOVE pop and screamo, but you may love classic and country. Track with me. There are posts, comments, opinions, and walls up in peoples lives because of what they “know” to be their truth. And it pisses me off. Your opinion and reality is not mine. Just because you can’t appreciate really good music (in my mind, see?) doesn’t mean that it’s truly not good. It’s just not your opinion. And that sucks! Am I right? There are glorious classic and country artists, I’d just rather listen to rock. You tracking? We get so wound up that what we know is what is true but oftentimes it’s really not even right. We are who we are because of our choices and our influences. We don’t have to prove that we are right. We just have to figure out if what we believe is really truth.
I grew up very religious, then became very rebellious. My parents believed a certain reality, and decided that it should be mine. I don’t blame them, it’s what they believed was best and I am thankful for the influence they were and are in my life. I had really great parents who loved me and just wanted the best for my life. (Still do!) That’s amazing. But as we find out in a lot of cases, what we often times think is the best for someone else, really might not be. Our beliefs should be our own, even if we take a harder route to finding that out. In some cases, I needed to be allowed to make my own messes so that I could either understand the reason for their decisions, or find what I personally believed about the situation. Their beliefs determined their standpoint, but it wasn’t always necessarily mine, and that’s what I’m getting at.
We ALL believe we are right in most cases, and for some reason we expect the other person to be so wrong. “How can they not see it?!” Are you kidding me? Try growing up how they did. Oh wait that’s right, you can’t. There is so much judgement in the world, that even I often refuse to talk about what I believe, and that’s stupid. “But I don’t want to offend anyone.” Okay… Well are you sure that what you believe is REALLY true? Cuz you ain’t convincin’ anyone if you don’t believe in yourself.
Be open to accepting everyone regardless of what they believe. In some cases, they ARE right.
Finding you: getting to know your body, soul and spirit.
This has been a fun journey. Learning myself, loving myself, and choosing joy in the midst of finding wholeness and healing. Being aware of how I am feeling throughout my day to day and season to season has helped me be able to notice when things are off in my life; if my thoughts get out of control, if something was said or done that hurt my spirit or when something would affect my soul. When I am able to know all of that about myself, finding the issue and root cause of my problems is much simpler and allows me to change the situation.
Your spirit is affected by the atmosphere around you, so choosing the places you go and the people in your life is something you want to be aware of. Your soul is what’s affected when deep hurt happens, and when deep joy is created; between friends, family, relationships, and yourself. Broken trust and other deep hurts that cause you to feel misled or wounded will cut into your soul and begin to turn it bitter, whereas precious moments, pure love, and deep trust will fill your soul with greater capacity for love. Your body is affected by whether your spirit and soul have been violated, or whether they are being taken care of and loved. When you really start to learn your body’s responses, you will start to notice whether something has been put off in your soul or spirit, creating a response in your body that isn’t meant to be there.
Based on what I have done, I have some suggestions you could try:
Read. Read many many books. I sought out people who I have seen living wholehearted lives and I asked them what they did that inspired them to live in wholeness. They gave me 1 or 2 names of books or people that have inspired them, which I either got or researched. A lot of these books have challenges throughout them that I get to choose to do as I read them. I don’t like to just read through the book, I like to stop when I find something interesting and underline or circle it, then write down my thoughts next to the section. I also don’t borrow books because of this, I like to buy my own copy and that way I have it to look back on if I need to.
Pay attention to your actions. Be very aware of yourself in everything that you do. Notice how you respond in different situations, (you can even write it down if you process better through journaling) and look for patterns of how you respond. The better you know how you personally respond, the deeper you will get into knowing why you respond as you do so you can work on the root issue instead of just dealing with the symptoms.
Don’t be thoughtless with your words. Really try to understand what you are saying and the affect that it has, while also listening closely to what other people are saying. Words are power; so are thoughts. Be aware of what you allow in your mind and what you are making unknown agreements with. You want to have a powerful thought-life. People that are thoughtless with their words are going to be thoughtless with your heart.
Talk to yourself regularly. If you feel off, ask yourself why, what happened, or what you need. The more you talk to yourself, the more you will understand your being and narrow down if there is a problem in your spirit, soul, or body. Start to ask yourself really good, hard questions and learn the motivations behind your actions. You will begin to trust yourself much much more. Sometimes choosing the hard choice when it feels like the right choice is the best choice. Trust the ‘gut’ feeling you get, because that’s probably your spirit trying to tell you something.
Whatever you believe in, there are parts of you that you don’t understand and that affect different aspects of your being. Try this out, and see how it works for you. If anything, I hope to encourage you to go beyond what you know and find new aspects of yourself that may in fact change how you do life in the future.
The reason for this journey is freedom. Free from haunting thoughts and fear. Free from other peoples hold on your life. Free from judgement, control, and disillusionment. Free in ways you that you can’t believe is reality, but it is. There’s a better way to live. There’s a greater perspective to find, a deeper connection to have, and more authority to have over your life and the lives of the people you influence.
Love always and forever, Makarios
Not everything works out for me. That’s just not real life. I do have crazy awesome things happen in my life, but I also learn every single day how to live better with what I have. I read books with topics on self awareness, personality, connection, living in the present, and loving on purpose. I also have people in my life that are constantly keeping up with my feelings and telling me how I could be better. It’s more so how I choose to live than how my life is. Even with all the good; I have really bad days, I go through depression all too often, I get hurt, I get let down, I get pushed away, and along with experiencing close deaths and close rejection, I have needs and unfulfilled desires. Why wouldn’t I be honest about that? I have nothing to hide but my most personal encounters, and those are not hidden because of regret, but stored in my mind and journals as encounters of love and loss that are too precious to be shared until the moment calls for it.
My pains are no less than anybody else’s, because they’re mine and they’re what I’m connected with. You wouldn’t understand my pain, and I wouldn’t understand yours, but we both understand the word all too well. Pain is pain, just as hurt is hurt, just as rejection is rejection, and we can all learn from how each other processes it all, even though the situations are different. (A reason I don’t post about the specific situation I’m going through, but my feelings, thoughts, and beliefs on how to deal with the pain or hurt of it.)
I choose the life I want to see myself live. That’s where I keep my focus, that’s where my perspective stems from and that’s what I hold on to in dire moments when I am falling apart. I oftentimes talk to my reflection in the mirror just to convince myself back into a better reality or I’ll even stare into my eyes until I come to a realization that I’m better than how I’m feeling in that moment. Honestly, these things are so real for me. Sometimes dealing with falling apart looks like allowing what some might see as insanity for a moment to shed light on your inmost thoughts that you can’t reach normally. In these times I think back through my past and find what held me together, then relive it until I believe it. If I can notice the patterns in my life, I can more easily convince myself that I’m okay now. The things I tell myself today with words and thoughts is what’s going to set up how I will be thinking in the days to come.
I want to learn about anything and everything, so when people come and tell me about an opinion or passion that they have, I soak it up. If I notice they have something in their life and personality that I want; I ask, listen, and become a sponge for their words. But as I continue to figure out what my beliefs are and how powerful of a person I am, I realize that I often don’t question what these people say to me. In a conversation recently with one of the people I highly look up to about their beliefs, I found myself so naturally questioning him and returning my opinion on the subject. Only then did I realize that I had reached a level with him that I thought would take me years of knowledge. He is a person who’s beliefs are brilliant, but I found out in that moment that mine are just as powerful and valid. We can both learn from how the other thinks and their outcomes.
It’s not that everything works out for me… It doesn’t. Honestly, many days I think I have the worst luck, but that’s because all I know is what I experience, and I choose to keep learning from every experience I find myself in. Even though that doesn’t stop the tears when I want something and things go wrong, it does help me to make more sense of real life and understand that things don’t happen how we expect and we just gotta roll with it. Something else is sure to happen that will change our history. We can’t keep sitting in our disappointment because what we have in front of us is the destiny we are waiting for.
Our destiny is what we are living in right now. We are making and changing history with every decision, every hurt, every moment, and every outcome.
The force of life
There’s a sweet romanticism that takes place in life by choosing to be free in loving, living, and giving yourself permission to have joy in abundance. You may not believe in it, but there’s an essence of what “life” is that I like to describe as a force that is constantly pushing and pulling for things to either work out or be brought apart. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, the good and bad, accomplishments and mistakes, even the happenstance of slipping down the stairs or crashing your car. Every one moment leads you to your next, and so on. Coincidence is a life force played out.
Thing’s happen in our lives everyday that are the cause of other people’s life events happening. It is not about us, it’s about the success of humankind. The more you can allow yourself to be one with the world and with life, the easier and more connected you will be to your own self and to other people.
True connection and intimacy is something we all search for and all believe we find in various places and people. The problem with this is that a lot of people look for intimacy in relationship with people when the connection they so desire is with life itself. This force is telling them that they are disconnected, and they search their whole lives to feel connected and never end up satisfied with the results. Sex is designed as one of the greatest connections in intimacy, so people conclude that this is the ultimate encounter for connection. Those feelings last for a bit, but as soon as the desire for connection returns, people come back to sex again and again to have that “fix.” As soon as the connection with that person starts to lessen, people create thoughts that it’s the partner’s fault or maybe even their own so they move on to another, and the cycle of searching for intimacy in relationships continues.
When I talk about romanticism with life, my reasoning for that word is that there is a love that transpires in this force of life that works to intertwine itself within your day to day being. It’s a connection. It’s an intimacy. Life WANTS you to succeed in what you do and become the greatest possible at it. The terrible parts of your life often times lead to the greatness and success in other people lives. This sweet connection with our life force allows us to understand better that our situations are not our own but a collection of what takes place in life. We are what we look at in other people to be the greatest. When we are seeing other people’s success and wishing that were ours, they are seeing ours the same way.
We believe what we think. We become what we believe. We become what we behold. Our lives are too precious and beautiful to waste our time with fears of failure.
Failure is an idea, not often a reality. Your “failure” is still a success, but your thought process keeps a void present in your life that needs to be filled with intimacy to “overcome” or “fill” these feelings that you’re not good enough. We are constantly feeling either a love or hate from the things we encounter in life, and depending on how connected we are to our thought process and knowing what our personal intake of the world is, our feelings are going to be different. We have to make sure that what we think and believe about life is how we actually want to see it.
Our thoughts change our perception. Our perception changes our connection. Our connection changes history. Keep pressing into a better reality, a better thought process, and a better connection. This “life force” is our key to thriving.
As always with love, Makarios Asriel
Love costs something.
There are so many different types of love; romance, friends, family, mother/daughter, father/son, platonic relationships, best friends, between lovers, between strangers, the love we have between people and animals and the love of fame or money. In all of these loves, there are valid feelings that create bonds. Some stronger than others, and some just exist in the subconscious. There are emotional pulls that happen in every love relationship that we have. Sometimes on one side more than another, and sometimes the give and take is equal. This equal love is the goal in successful, unconditional relationships.
My goal in this season of my life is to find relationships in my life that are an equal give and take. Doing that, I can find freedom from performance, from striving, from emotional pulls on my heart, and I can find full expression in who I am, to be the best person that I can be. In doing this, I am loving myself. Unconditional relationships are where love is truly known. In the forgiveness, the grace, the communication, and the joy that is found in just being.
I truly believe in people coming into your life for a period of time. A lot of people have fear about not wanting to give themselves to that relationship because they may not be in their life forever. We all have this sense that we are waiting for people that will be in our lives forever. That = very few. So then we keep ourselves from being fully us, not allowing that freedom, and missing out on the possibility to find new paths and goals for our lives that we could never have dreamt of. This love = an equal surrender to a joy and living that is vital to a wholehearted lifestyle.
People miss out on the chance to experience so much love when they choose not to enter into “give and receive” relationships. These are the relationships where you love the person for who they are, not for what the future may or may not hold, or who you guys may or may not become. These are present relationships, living in every moment, and giving and receiving love from each other without the expectancy we put on people to fulfill our needs or to try and change or “fix” each other. You don’t have to worry about losing them from your life because you understand that what happens happens and they are so perfectly in your life for a reason.
I’ve had a few relationships like this in my life, but for the most part I don’t believe a lot of people understand the freedom in these relationships. If they did, the vulnerability it takes to create these relationships wouldn’t matter for the freedom they would receive. True love in relationships requires sacrifice. A dying to yourself in way by losing the persona you have created for yourself and showing somebody the side of you that hurts to reveal because it’s a you that you may not believe to be who you “should” be.
Love costs something. Will you sacrifice your image for honesty?
Being good at being you
Traveling a lot makes me really grateful for the people in my life who really know me. Who know the day to day things, the seasons I’ve been through, the processes I’ve dealt with, and the things I love. When I’m constantly in new communities and with new people, it can end up being exhausting. I love to just be. Not to put expectation on myself, but to have people who can ask me about things they know I’ve been working towards, who know my favorite things to do, understand my personality, or who can call me higher when I am lacking in my attitude, or in other areas of my life.
When I am not around people that know me, knowing myself and being aware of myself has been an extremely helpful tool for me to use to continue being the best me. I can understand when I’m off, or what it is that is causing issues with how I am feeling. I can figure out if it’s my body, my spirit, or my soul that is hurting, and I can use the tool of knowing myself to discover the causes. When I can discover the causes, I can uncover the solution.
Let’s talk about one of the reasons we may feel “off.” Shame. There are things that happen in our lives sometimes that put shame on us, which cause our spirits to feel violated and hurt. These are not always expected or intentional and sometimes feel out of our control. A good way to know when this has happened is to feel embarrassed to talk about the situation. If it is something you are not willing to share, there is a level of shame attached to that situation that will cause the rest of you to feel off.
- Notice how you approach people. Is it hard for you to make eye contact? Why?
- Notice your body and how you are holding it. Does it change around a certain group of people? Why?
When you begin to realize where the problem is, you start to find the answers to “why.” In evaluating what you do, and why you do it, you’ll become more aware of your feelings and more able to solve any issues at hand that are within yourself. Don’t be discouraged if sometimes this process takes a little longer than you hope or expect, you are still moving forward.
How can we begin to walk through the process of healing in this area?
- Learn to not judge yourself where shame is involved. Putting any judgement on yourself is setting another layer of pain on you, and another wall up to other people. It keeps you from freedom and keeps you from being fully you.
- Communicate and have hard conversations with people that are trustworthy and can protect your heart. Letting yourself embrace the awkward and sometimes extremely tense moments in many parts of your life will strengthen your spirit and your will and allow more freedom in yourself.
The idea of being fully you is not anything new to us. It’s thrown out there in many different ways, and people are consistently talking about it and saying, “just be you.” But how many of us really know who we are? How many of us have actually gotten to that place of truly understanding ourselves? I may have a good grasp of myself and how I am feeling in a lot of areas in my life, but I can’t say that I fully know who I am yet. What I do know is that I am getting closer to finding out.
Being fully you is being the best you that you can be. Sticking to your beliefs, but being open to your beliefs changing in order to be even better. The way you carry yourself, the way you dress, and the way you talk, that is all part of being you; however, if you are fully you, the atmosphere around you will show off more of who you are than the appearance of what you believe you are. Times change, seasons of life change, the world changes, people change; this all affects us being fully us and that’s the beauty of it. We can continually find ways to be more ourselves, better versions of ourselves, and fully ourselves.
As always, Makarios
It’s that time of year.
Everyone’s deciding now, more than any other time of the year, to be a better version of themselves. Setting new goals, creating new dreams, having new visions for their lives. And we all plan to really do them. That’s the beauty of a new year. It feels like a new beginning with new found belief in ourselves. However, as the first few weeks turn into the first few months, we tend to lose sight of that. A big reason that in the end we don’t always complete our goals is because we stop believing in ourselves. Over and over again we hear the reoccurring excuses of a busy schedule, financial difficulties, a lack of motivation, etc. The level of discouragement that creates in us escalates from there. But what really happens? We stop believing we can do it, or that we are actually worth it. In fact, we might even start believing that it wasn’t really a new start at all, but just a continuation of the year before. It becomes not as important. And as the things we do with our lives start becoming less important, we start viewing ourselves as less important too.
I think a lot of times at the beginning of the year we feel a sense that the things that happened in the last year are kept in the last year. All the disappointments, the grief, the pain; that can all be left behind, and now we get to choose how our next year looks. In some ways that’s true, but as we look back on the years and say, “that happened in that year (and so on)”, we have to realize it’s still a continuation of our previous days, even if the date of the year changes. I’m not trying to be discouraging, but I want to point out that how you want to live your life can START now, just don’t stop that based on what time of year it is. Live out who you want to be all the time. The great thing about the new year is that it’s a reoccurring mark on the timeline of our lives; a way to keep track of our goals so we can continue pushing for success, and something that starts us creating good habits that we will continue long after the year is gone.
It’s also important to understand that a new year does not mean that you can forget about the pain that you were dealing with in the previous season of your life. It’s not a time to leave your feelings about a situation un-dealt with, but instead it might be just a good time for a break and a re-evaluation of how you are really feeling about the situation. You still need to go through that process; however, it may just be at a different time. There are seasons of your life needed for rest. For many people, the holidays are not a good time. Whether it be loss, heartache, or loneliness; some feelings and emotions may come up in you that you are simply not used to feeling and didn’t realize you still had within you. This can bring a lot of stress, a lot of hurt, and can become a huge burden that sits within you if it isn’t properly handled. The new year sounds like a perfect time to just leave all that behind you doesn’t it?
What if we actually dealt with our emotions, found the root causes, and became free in those areas? Think of how much better we would feel everyday, and how much more we would understand ourselves, love ourselves, and treat ourselves. Don’t you want that?
Something that will help us to pursue our goals all year long is to 1) make goals that are attainable, but still high enough to keep us pushing towards notable success, and 2) have more frequent check-mark dates that keep us accomplishing smaller goals on the path in reaching our overall goal. Continue to look at the vision you have for the end of this year and update your process as you go along. Your new life starts now!
When to say no.
My heart. My world. It’s overcome by people who want a piece of it. There’s a taking that happens all the time—a trespassing into my life that hasn’t been allowed. It’s exhausting for us to live our lives when people are continually taking from us—our emotions, our time, our energy. But guess what, there’s good news. Most of this can actually be avoided! If we allow ourselves to be okay with saying no to people, we can cut down that risk of exhaustion by at least 50%. Sometimes people will continue to take even when we say no. Sometimes that’s unavoidable, but we will never cut that percentage down unless we are actually okay with saying no.
For me, saying no used to be hard, but that was because of fear in my life that said I might lose friends or that said I was being too selfish if I did. I should be aware of everyone’s feelings, right? I don’t want to be rude to people, right? Well here’s a question for you: are we actually valuing ourselves if we allow people to take part of us that we shouldn’t give? People take what we don’t have all the time, and it hurts our souls, our spirits, our bodies, our minds, and the close people in our lives.
Some say we can’t give what we don’t have. Sure we can! We do it all the time. We steal from others to give if we have to, but God forbid we turn somebody down because they want something. Are you hearing me?!? This is what we do. How is that healthy or okay? If they don’t get it from you, they’ll go get it from somebody else. Don’t kill yourself to help someone for a moment, because it really will kill you eventually if you let it. Knowing when to say no stems from an understanding of how well you know yourself, and I hope you are actually applying the stuff I have been saying to your life, because you should know yourself at least a little bit better by now.
It’s all about trial and error. Learn how far you can go, and then stay away from that. Push yourself so you can grow, and then ease up to find a balance. If it hurts, that’s an indicator of when to say no. Balance your life out so that if you know you are crazy busy for a couple days/weeks straight, you know that you will need to say no to some things after that in order to recuperate. This all seems so logical and simple, but so many of us (even me) still don’t do it. We think we can give, and we can! But at what cost? These things really build up, and they have to be let out eventually. It could take years, but trust me, it WILL take its toll at some point. Let’s work to prevent that from happening by cooling off the boiling pot now.
Have accountability to major things you do in your life. (If you need it for smaller things to start out with, that’s fine.) Find a great friend who will ask you how much you’ve been giving of yourself lately, and then listen to them, in order to maintain balance. Don’t be stupid and then keep giving anyway.
Trust your instincts. (NOT THE FEAR ONES; unless there is a specific reason you should trust that.) If you feel you are too tired to go out, or that it will take energy from you and you know you’ve given a lot that day already, be willing to say no. This is a hard one; if you have already made plans with someone that have been set for awhile, but when the day comes and you feel like it would take more than you feel you can give, love yourself enough to kindly and politely say no.
Talk to yourself. Ask yourself every morning how much you feel you have to give that day, and then throughout the day make sure you still have enough in order to enjoyably make it through the time that you have left.
As always, Makarios
Living to a higher standard.
Why, I can’t explain… Awful things happen all the time and affect so many people. It’s so tiring. It’s so exhausting. It’s so devastating. It’s so terribly life-changing. People will never know the great impact they have had on so many others, for better or for worse. People that die don’t know just how many people loved them, and people that kill don’t know just how many people they have affected.
Don’t forget… I find so many Christians today who are so caught up on “loving Jesus” that they are oblivious to or are ignoring the killing pain that happens in peoples lives. Don’t forget that there are real humans dealing with dreadful pain. To love Jesus is to follow what He did and who He was. Praying for PEACE when things are stirred up in someone’s life is not always the best option. “Well everyone needs peace.” No.. No they don’t, not if the peace numbs the pain that needs to be felt so feelings can be dealt with. I don’t know how biblical this is, and I’m not trying to be. I’m talking from my experiences of yearrrsss in the church. LOVE LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING.
Take. one. moment… One of my closest friends heard about devastating news in my life and cried with me. When I told her how much I appreciated that because of so many people just giving an arm-length comment, she responded, “It’s inconvenient to love genuinely…” Isn’t this what we are called to do? “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Rom 12:15) How come people find it difficult to be WITH a person for a moment to connect with how they are feeling.
Christians; I am calling you to a higher standard. Love looks like something. If you don’t know how to do ^^THAT then I would question who I am serving if I were you. It’s not all ‘Jesus’ and ‘God is good’ rainbows in the clouds all the time. It’s real shit that affects real lives, while you are in the mindset of “lets be happy, bless you, peace always.”
If you’re offended, take it up with God. If you’re not; good, you’re probably mourning with the broken. Question yourself always.
Life, the craziness.
There is so much that goes on around us every day, and we can all get sucked into the emotions that are around us. We have to be intentional, or we might miss out on relationships and the small (but important) things in life.
Life can be insane. For me, I travel a lot. When I don’t travel, I work. When I’m not working, I’m trying to catch up with friends, stay connected with leaders, research schools, read books, write, and paint. I also go to concerts, coffee shops, and I make new friends every week it seems. I’m pretty busy. To be back home is a blessing and rest is definitely a must for my lifestyle.
Life can be exhausting, and if you’re living it up every day, you are probably tired every day too. Knowing your body and how much it can take is so important. Eating right, exercising, and staying healthy are great ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your life and that you’re able to stay focused on what’s going on around you. Have a cup of coffee if you need it, or just want it because it’s fantastic.
Life can be really awesome. There are always ways to make your life better, and I hope you can say that your life is amazing, because you deserve that. Finding things that you love to do and making them a priority is important to living a life that you love. You might feel like you’re drowning in responsibility and that taking time for yourself is selfish and that other things are more important, but my question to you would be, do you love yourself? Because if you don’t make time for yourself, you won’t feel the best that you could feel, and you won’t have the fullest experiences that you can.
Because there is so much going on around us all the time, we have to be aware of how we are handling ourselves and our days. What are you doing to make sure the right things are prioritized for you? Ask yourself if doing that thing (whatever it may be) is loving yourself and your body before saying yes to it.
What are some ways that we can stay sane throughout our crazy lives? I think that’s something we all have to figure out for ourselves, and knowing what makes us feel the most at rest is probably something to add to our priority list (unless in some way it harms our body or spirit). Taking a few minutes out of our days can make a big difference in keeping us from being overloaded with information and stress. Having a moment to decompress and be reminded to be purposeful with our time where we are will change our perspective on what we are doing.
Being present throughout your encounters will also ensure that you will get the most out of every moment. Make being present a goal for this next season and watch how that changes things for you.
All the best in your journey, Makari Asriel