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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 68: Be Thankful for Life.

Remember to be thankful for all the blessings in your life. I just want to take this day to get some personal thanks down, a lot of things I’m thankful for, things I couldn’t do without. I’m thankful because I’m blessed, as we all are, I’m thankful that my life hasn’t been too rough, although I’m also thankful for the problems I’ve faced and for the lessons I’ve learned from them, both the easy and the hard way. I’m thankful for my family and few real friends who have always supported me through those problems, and I’m thankful for having had the inner strength to endure past trials and tribulations. I’m thankful that I have my health, I hope it can stay this way, and although sickness and disease scare the hell out of me, I hope I can remain grateful for life even if something should ever happen. I’m thankful that most of my family are healthy, for the most part, and I’m thankful because I have so many honest and real people in my family who I can look up to. I sometimes wish that I could live like they do, that I could be as correct as them in every aspect of life, but then I remember that I’m thankful for being myself, exactly as I am. I’m thankful for my mother and my father, two amazing people who raised my two brothers with unconditional love and much more. I’m thankful that I still have them by my side, and that I always will. I couldn’t be happier about the way our relationship is progressing, so I’m thankful that those old stressful days are behind us now, and that we can move on as a family. I’m thankful for life in general, for the diversity and the difference, for the depth and the significance of seemingly random events, I’m thankful for my wonderful wife and for the pure love we’ve come to share together. I’m thankful for every day we spend together at our little house here in Honduras. I’m thankful for my grandparents who are letting us stay at their property, I thank God for my family’s generosity and their unconditional love and support, their wise advice. I’m thankful for my gift of writing, of creating music, of rapping. I’m thankful for my body, I know that it’s my responsibility to take care of it, to use it in the right ways and as a tool to achieve the right purposes. I’m thankful for whatever amount of discernment I possess, and I’m so thankful for the little bit of self-control I’ve begun to have recently after much work, failure and trying again, after setting numerous goals, rearranging days, planning weeks out, letting go of things I think I need. I’m thankful for consciousness, for simply being alive, for my legs and feet, for being able to walk slowly down the street, enjoying a song on my headphones on a sunny day. I thank God for creation, for nature, for the sun and the moon, for the planets and the stars and the sky above. I’m thankful for the ocean, for the seas, for the sand, the beach, the dirt, air we all breathe. I’m thankful for every obstacle in my way, since it presents an opportunity to grow. I’m thankful for every single thing I’ve gone through, for every memory, for every random event as well as everything I ever chose to do, I’m thankful for it all, since it’s all made me who I am. I’m thankful for being me, but I’m also thankful that you are you, that he is he and that she is she. I’m glad that we’re all here, that we can read, we can write, we can learn and philosophize. I’m thankful that I can wake up in the morning and enjoy a tasty breakfast, that I can plan my day with optimism. I’m thankful for the cool breeze, I’m thankful for the rain for the plants need it and we need the plants. I’m thankful for the innocence of newborn babies, for animals and their variations. I thank God for the mystery of life, and for all there is to figure out. I’m thankful that I’m not God, or some all-powerful being, that I do not hold the responsibility of the whole world or universe on my shoulders. I humble myself and I am thankful for it, since I know I am an instrument in life, although I have free will. How can we understand this? We cannot possibly comprehend such a concept with earthly understanding, and I am thankful for it. I love life as it is, I am thankful because I’m still me. Should I cry and complain all the time because I haven’t reach a completely selfless, or impersonal state? Should I practice all sorts of severe austerities, should i neglect my body and starve myself to death, should I despise all that is in this physical realm? I am thankful for my life on this planet, no matter what its ultimate meaning may be, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to live this life. We all have the power to create the lives we wish to live. We are all born in different circumstances, and for some it may prove more difficult than for others to reach their dreams, but perhaps the hardships were just what we needed in order to grow into the people we needed to be so that we could succeed at that new stage of life we are sure to enter into once we do realize our greatest dreams. Accept the reality and the unpredictability of life, be thankful for it. Would you be interested in watching a movie if there are no problems, nothing to resolve? What if you already knew everything that would happen also? Life is unpredictable because we have a say in what happens, and if we want to live in freedom then we have to assume responsibility for our actions, and we have to be willing to pay the consequences. Be thankful for the life that even allows you the opportunity to live and to choose otherwise, to be thankful or the hate life.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 69.

~ Rebel Spirit 

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 67: We All Breathe the Same Air.

Another day of living, taking and giving. We take with every inhale, we give back with every exhale. There is no escaping this until we stop breathing and leave this earth. We all breathe the same air while we’re here so we are all brothers and sisters, and we must start to live by this truth rather than just talk or debate about it. Philosophizing is great, and it is in fact necessary, but if every truth of life is reduced to just an idea, which can either be accepted or discarded, then we have to wonder about the utility of our philosophy. The truth that we are all connected is evident to all of us, it is not a great hidden mystery. It is a truth that we can’t just talk about, we must feel it, we must understand it, we must put it into practice at all times. Whenever a new possibility arises, or any new situation, we are quick to look for whatever we can gain from it. Too often however, we completely overlook another even more important aspect of it, which is what we can give, what we can contribute to any given situation or project. Life itself, the world, society, these are the biggest projects we have going on on this planet, and if we were born here, if we find ourselves alive right now, it’s because we have something to contribute to them. Whether you believe in God or not, if you believe that life has any meaning at all, any deep significance, then there must be a meaning for you being born in the family you were born in, in the city and the country you were born in. Regardless of what your religion might teach, regardless of the metaphysical implications of your belief about life, we all find ourselves alive, in this life, in this crazy world, not really knowing why. We are all trying to live our lives as best as we can, all trying to make sense of the events which happen all around us every day, to integrate them into our lives, to learn what we can so that we may live life better every day. Life is about falling down and getting back up time and time again, it’s about failing, learning from our failures, and then moving forward with our new knowledge, trying to do better tomorrow. None of us have it all figured out, but a lot of us love pretending that we do. We love acting as if we have all the answers, since this makes us feel somewhat secure of our position in life. We look down at others who don’t have it all figured out like we firmly believe we do, and we stop associating with people since we don’t want to be dragged down to their level, or we don’t think they have anything to contribute to our lives. When we do this, we stop ask for help when we need it, and we don’t try to help others either, we never consider the possibility that anyone else might have any way to help us with anything. We isolate ourselves in a comfortable bubble, we focus all our time on trying to improve our own lives, and we ignore all the ways in which we could help all those around us. The problem with this is that we can never truly progress if we neglect the social aspect of our nature. We are all social creatures, we were all born with the capacity to interact because we are meant to interact, we are meant to build together, we are meant to help each other up when we fall. Things work much better this way. It is something that has been proven time and time again, something that we all know, yet we continue trying to live our lives on our own terms, never listening to any advice, never stepping out of our comfort zone to help anyone in need. When enough people start living like this, others begin to sense it. People feel vulnerable, like they can’t trust their neighbors, they can’t trust the teachers, the cops, the politicians, the police. But who are these politicians and police? Who are the criminals and the terrorists? They are people like us, breathing, living people. So, as we start to feel suspicious about our government and also about the criminals, about the terrorists as well as the police, then we are really starting not to trust humanity as a whole. We all try to get ahead, and in our desperation to get ahead, we are quick to step on others to get what we want. We worry only for ourselves, and it is easy for us to ignore the pain we have caused others as long as we can enjoy the benefits we got from it ourselves. We never take into consideration that, with every dishonest act, with everything we do to harm others and benefit ourselves, we help create an atmosphere of hostility, of distrust, an environment in which no one can rely on anyone else. Since more and more people start feeling this way, they also start acting out of desperation and fear, they start to “understand” that the world is a wicked place, that people only look out for themselves, no matter where we go, and that if we want to survive, we will have to do the same. So many of us have adopted this attitude, and because of that it’s almost impossible to fully trust anyone these days. This is really a sad state of affairs, since our whole society runs on trust, and the more we feel that we are isolated from everyone else, the more we feel that we don’t need anyone else to live life, that we don’t need to connect with anyone else, the more we will contribute to the downfall of civilization by helping to sever the connections between human beings. Before you do anything, before you start any new project, take a moment to remember that life is not only about taking, but also about giving. Think of what you can do to make a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s a small, positive difference. We all have to start somewhere, and maybe we can reverse some of the damage that has already been done.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 68.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 56: Watch What You Say.

I hear people talk about so many useless and random things. I don’t criticize them on the spot, or behind their back to anyone, since I remember the days when I also used to speak just for the sake of speaking, just to be seen, just to be heard and acknowledged. I always had to make my opinion known, I always tried to have people see me in a certain light or think of me in some specific way, and so the things I said were just calls for attention, even when I myself didn’t see that at the time. I had to make my life into what I thought it should be, I had to make people know me, know who I am, what my beliefs were, how the system was wrong and I was right, and how my way of life was the only correct way to live life: recklessly, without a care in the world or a thought for the future. As I matured over the past few years, after living through the consequences of some of the bad decisions from my past, I’ve really stopped talking so much. I’d say I don’t even speak half as much as I used to. I try to practice discernment with all thoughts that come up in my mind, at least whenever I remember to do so, and I find that many of the things which I’m about to say can and should be discarded before they are even expressed. Nowadays I try not to talk so much, as I would much rather attempt to understand the things I observe, the things I see and hear, to relate them to my own experiences as well as what I’ve learned and continue learning. Most of the time we say things which we don’t know for sure, we make assumptions about others due to our limited knowledge of the situation they are facing, or of the life they have lived as a whole, or we offend others by only advising them from our own point of view, without ever taking a moment to place ourselves in their shoes. I try to give advice to my friends when they need it, though I don’t try to seem like I know everything, and I don’t go around telling people what they are doing wrong in their life, especially without providing any alternative to their current actions. All of us are struggling in this life, all of us are confused to a certain extent, all trying to do the best we can to stay sane and to survive, and maybe to transform our lives into great achievements, to make our dreams come true. This only seems to matter when it applies to ourselves though, but we are quick to kill the dreams of others, whether they are our friends or enemies, even if we think that words are pretty much harmless. Words are extremely powerful, and I’ve written on that subject before. So many of us are happy to see our friends remain where they are, never advancing or moving forwards, since they make us feel comfortable about who we are and where we’re at in life, so we only talk with them about trivial things, we never try to suggest any positive change or challenge, since the friendship might change for the worse or end if one of us gets higher up the ladder than the other. This is the way too many of us see things, yet the sentiment is often unconscious. We believe we want what’s best for our friends, yet we have no problem with letting them kill themselves with alcohol or cigarettes or drugs, so long as we are not the only ones doing it. We shouldn’t refrain from giving advice to those we care about, as it can be precisely what they need in order to move ahead and face whatever obstacle they may currently be facing, but we should always advise them in a humble manner. We always must keep in mind that we could have slipped just as easily as them, since we live in a world full of temptation and desire, our will is constantly being weakened, our minds attacked. We should never think of ourselves as higher than anyone else, as superior to anyone, just because they have done something which we consider horrible, which we believe we would never do ourselves. We don’t know what things can come to, we don’t know what everyone’s been through, and we don’t know why everyone does what they do. We can’t be the judges of humanity, we can only live our own lives. Only we have our own memories, our own aspirations, only we have our own ideas, our own I know that I know more about some things than others, though I don’t consider myself an expert in any specific subject, so I don’t pretend to be. Even so-called experts on any subject could benefit from thinking a bit less of themselves, leaving the arrogance behind, and admitting that there are many things, even about their special subject which they don’t fully understand. We learn during every day that we are alive, but it is our choice to learn the hard way, by arrogantly trying to mold life to our convenience, or to learn the easy way, by maintaining the attitude of a humble observer in this world. No matter how important we may think we are, whether we are the owner of the biggest organization on the planet, whether we are the most famous rock star or actor, whatever kind of celebrity, we all need to be humble enough to see ourselves as something else, something which we all have in common These days no one will take you seriously unless you’ve been to college or university, but I don’t think it’s necessary to Often times I’m too caught up in thought to say anything, I’m starting to let life happen more, without complaining, or without attempting to change the direction of things. I don’t know where I’m going with this, to be honest, but I have enough words and it’s time for me to meditate now, so off I go into a wordless space.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 57.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 55: The Lessons You’ve Taught Me.

You make me see that things are not always as they seem, you make me appreciate the power of love, something I never believe in before. You taught me compassion, communion, you helped me to see that so much of my confusion was only a choice. You made me realize that I had a choice, to be free or to keep on struggling in my mental prison, to let go and to allow myself to be loved, to let go of the past that was keeping me down, or to keep on holding on to an illusion of myself. I knew when I met you, that life was providing me with an opportunity which I couldn’t refuse, that God was granting me with a precious gift, one that I couldn’t completely understand at the time, but which I knew, without a doubt, came as a form of divine grace. Such love doesn’t just come unexpected, to someone who doesn’t even believe in the very idea of it. Perhaps deep within I always believed and wanted it, perhaps it was something which was attracted by an intense yet hidden desire. I always wanted a true companion, a woman to share my thoughts with, my ideas on life, to reflect and to build together, to help each other move along through the struggles of life, to listen to her and do support her. I do remember wanting that long ago, my parents were always an amazing example of this for me. As I began to grow, to date, I forgot about this idea, about love and romance, and I saw that people just wanted to party, both guys and girls wanted sex with no commitment. Unconsciously I developed a cynical view of life, since everything seemed so superficial, interactions between people I knew seemed so meaningless, so I decided to join the fun, to allow myself to become caught up in the drama, in the highs and lows of sensual living, I forgot all about ever finding a true life partner, since such an idea simply wasn’t cool. As I began to identify with certain ideas, different from my initial thoughts of love and companion, I began to believe I was an identity, I was a cool dude, I was not about to be chasing any girls down and I was not going to give in to them, I was going to keep it cool and fuck them and leave them, I thought I knew the game. There was no way I was allowing myself to be tied down, how could I if there were so many girls yet to meet, there was so much fun to have still? I never wanted to marry, I also began to take pride in having meaningless sex with as many attractive girls as I could, even when I knew, deep inside, that there was no merit in anything I was doing, that there was really nothing at all to be proud of. All along I craved that deeper connection, and then you came along into my life, completely out of the blue you appeared and stole my heart with your sweet voice. I see now that I was wrong about many things, your simple attitude towards life has convinced me that, even when everything is going wrong, even when everyone around us decides to do only what’s best for them, even then, we should mind our business, we should do our work, we should be ourselves, and we should always be happy about it, we should always do the best we can with the most positive attitude we can bring to the table. You’ve inspired me to become a fighter, before I didn’t see much of a purpose to fight for. I did see many things that were wrong with the world, but a part of me thought they were impossible to change, that life was meaningless because I couldn’t change all the things that were wrong with it. You’ve shown me greater depth than I could previously even imagine, and I thank you and I thank God for it every day, since I know there’s a profound reason for our coming together. I can’t wait to show you new places, which are old to me, and I’ve had a great time during these two years while meeting your family, immediate and extended. Life is great when we are together, you woke me up to the fact that even the most seemingly insignificant details are rich with meaning, that life is no further than here and now, and that we must never let anything get in the way of us being here for those we love and who love us, for being here and now, fully present for them whenever they may need us. You’ve taught me, and you continue teaching me, a lifelong lesson in sacrifice, in putting others before oneself, in working as a team, in making things work together, through proper and honest communication, through restraint on anger and on jumping to conclusions, through sincerity in all situations. You make me smile every day, it’s great to have a person I know I can trust, an embodiment of all that is good and true. You made me see that, before our time together, I had been chasing worthless thrills, I had been living life all wrong. You made me see that there is so much more good within us than we often want to accept, that we often can do much more for others than we wish to acknowledge, lest we feel obligated to do so. You don’t seem to realize it, but your personality has had such an impact on me, your kindness, your radiance and your happiness, they’ve really brightened up my life, I’m so happy to be with you and I can’t wait to see how these virtues continue to grow in you in the future. I wish you the best always, and I pray God blesses you forever, and that we may spend a long, long time together on Earth, and if possible then beyond as well.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 56.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 44: Mentality Matures as we Grow and Learn.

Throughout my lifetime I’ve held many very different ideas at many different times. At a certain point I was determined to make it big as a rapper, to tour the world as a superstar and make incredibly popular music. I had a belief that nobody could stop me if I really set my mind to it. I still believe this, yet in my younger days, way, way back in the day, there simply was no doubt in my mind about whether I was going to make it or not. I was going to make it, without a doubt, because I had to. I grew up in a very ethical household, my parents really taught me most of the positive values and habits that make me who I am today. I strayed from their teachings from years, and I still do in some ways, but nowhere nearly as much as I did before. In my adolescent mind, their entire worldview was simply wrong. I didn’t give it much though though, I just didn’t follow it. I followed my own rules, which often meant breaking many rules, both imposed by my parents and by the law. I had no idea about people who try to live a life of righteousness to the best of their ability, I gave no thought to the deeper side of life, to all suffering that surrounds us, to how we must all do our best to uplift each other and to ease each other’s suffering. I did acknowledge all the suffering and evil in the world, but I only used my music to lash out at society, to blame the government or whoever is really running things, or to promote myself and my own ideas about not trusting anyone, about keeping your circle small and keeping it real and not fucking around with me. I was busy causing suffering myself, by stealing, whether sweaters at the mall or candy at the dollar store, or by fighting in the street or at school, or arguing at home, or disobeying and disregarding my parents and the way they felt about things. I was so inconsiderate, and I see that it was due to my mindset which had become completely corrupt. I was attempting to recreate a mental image that I had of myself, or rather who I thought I was, and I was acting out in unnecessary ways, always wanting to be the craziest one, the one who does the craziest shit or gets the most fucked up. I tried so many different drugs back in those days. I can’t say I’m done with all of them, but at least I don’t do them indiscriminately anymore, in big quantities and doses, mixing different kinds of substances. I’ve always done my research on these things, and by learning and experience I’ve come to learn what the differences are between many different kinds of psychoactive effects, which substances can be positive and not harm one’s body or mind, and which are simply poison, including crack/cocaine as well as most pharmaceuticals. I can’t say I regret my past, as I have learned a lot, and I’ve had a lot of good times. Pain and suffering, even ignorance, are all part of one’s life, at some times more than others. We usually mature as we age, as we learn, as we live and grow. This has been true for me. Perhaps I still got a long way to go in the process, but at least I’ve come this far. I no longer make music without attempting to provide a solution to the problems I address, I know longer party or try to hook up with random girls, since I’m not married and also don’t drink, probably for about a hundred days now. I can save more money, I don’t have to act a fool on a regular basis, and I don’t have to have my sadhana constantly interrupted by periods of guilt, shame, disgust, plus a terrible hangover and all it includes. I feel that I’ve done quite enough drinking in my life, and at this point I only smoke chronic, plus indulge in a productive psychedelic trip once in a while, in the comfortable set and setting of my own home, with my wife accompanying me, or sometimes as she sleeps. One must respect these substances and understand that partaking in drugs, even psychedelics, is no game. Psychedelics are more unpredictable than other kinds of drugs, and the trip they take a person on highly depends on one’s mindset, and set and their setting, as well as one’s expectations and underlying beliefs about the nature of the psychedelic experience. One must be fully aware in order to become totally immersed in a mystical psychedelic experience and reap the benefits of it afterward, if determination is applied to the trip’s revelations. I guess I can say I’ve changed a lot, for the better, over the years, partly by naturally maturing, and by reconsidering some of my parent’s advice, partly understanding that we all are on a search for God, for transcendence, and some of these realizations have become deeply ingrained in my consciousness because of my psychedelic trips throughout the years. I now read more, I research, I try not to talk about much nonsense, or indulge in petty or destructive conversation. I try to be constructive with all I do, and sometimes I fail at it, as old habits prevent me from behaving in the best way I know. Self-mastery is a slow process, and it is no easy task, but it is worth it. When I realized, a few years back, the extent to which I had gone in causing my parents grief, and setting a bad example for my brothers, I felt deeply ashamed of myself for it. For a few years I was consumed by the idea of paying them back for all that had done for me, to make up for what I had not done for them, such as being a good son. In some ways I was though, and in some I wasn’t. I’m glad to say I don’t feel so guilty now, as I’ve grown and I’ve learned, my relationship with my parents has only continued to get better. I can’t wait to see them again when Maria and I fly back to Canada.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 45.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 41: Don’t Take Family for Granted.

I went to my cousin’s high school graduation today. They put up a video of some childhood photos for each of the kids who were graduating. It was great seeing him happy, enjoying his graduation ceremony along with friends. I don’t remember my own graduation ceremony, since I never went. I wasn’t invited, since I got kicked out of school, and finished my high school education online. Thankfully that was an option, and it ended up being for the best anyway, since I graduated even earlier than my classmates who didn’t get expelled. Putting my own past aside though, my cousin’s ceremony really brought up a good feeling within me, a feeling of true bonding between families, of children making their parents happy, of how great it is when a child actually wants to follow the path their parents hope they will follow. I could never relate to these things, although in a way I still wish I could. I’ve always wanted to do my own thing, and it didn’t always end up with in the greatest of situations. I do know the joy that comes from a family spending time together and simply getting along though, a feeling of unconditional love and support. We often spend a lifetime searching for this in other people, searching for the group of people with whom we’ll feel comfortable, who we can be ourselves with. It turns into a crazy kind of desperation for us, even for many people who already have this love available in their family, yet have always taken it for granted. Sometimes, we feel ashamed to be ourselves with our families, since we come to feel guilty for taking, taking, taking so much without giving back even half as much. We feel as though we’ve got to pay them back for all the wonderful things they’ve done for us. Someone who is an amazing example for us of how to live life is now avoided because they we feel a deep sense of shame when we’re around them, we know that they have been there for us through the worst of times, and that they truly know us. We shouldn’t feel any shame regarding this however, our families are the few people who we can truly be vulnerable with. We can’t always trust everyone we meet, we can’t share our feelings with every person we find on the street, yet most of us are provided with people who unconditionally love and support us right from the get-go, from the moment that first breath is taken, and even before then. Yes, it’s true that sometimes parents can be a bit too controlling, but unless there is something really serious going on, physical or emotional or unspeakable kind of abuse, unless this is the case then a person has no excuse to completely disregard a parent who only wants what’s the best for them. This doesn’t mean that their advice, or their opinions, should be our own, and that they should be followed without fault even after we reach adulthood. It means, however, that we should carefully consider their ideas, sometimes people who have known us for a long time might see things about ourselves that we can’t see, being so caught up in our own personal drama, unable to look at things from a different perspective than our own. This is exactly what was going on with my parents and I during my high school years. I loved them so much, I still do and always will, and I couldn’t bear to let them know that I was completely disregarding their advice, that I was doing things, consciously doing things, which to them were completely outrageous, things that no one in their right mind would do. Looking back on some of those things, I see that in some ways they were right. In some they were wrong, and some of those habits I still have today, but a lot of times they were right. I couldn’t see they were right though, I was too blind to see what was going on in my own stupid lifestyle, so I ignored what they said, I ignored their pain and suffering because the pleasure of the trance I was caught up in was too heavy, it was too euphoric to escape from, no matter how wrong I knew I was. I think of them quietly sitting at home, suffering for my actions, the actions of an ungrateful, rebellious teenager who just couldn’t stop getting into senseless troubles. I think of my mother’s tears, of my father’s temper towards everyone at home, stressed about my situation. Ignorance is bliss, and I wasn’t there with them, suffering with them, as we are supposed to do with our family members. Instead, I was the very reason for their suffering, and I was laughing all along, laughing harder and harder to make sure I wouldn’t cry. But sometimes I would trip, and I would eventually cry. I would think back of times, such as today’s graduation, times in my own life when I saw my mother smile, proud of her firstborn son, when I heard my father cheer me on as a child. I thought back on times of severe stress, of fighting and fussing and yelling at home, of sadness and silence, of rainy days, tormented by the consequences of my own actions, the suffering doubled by the fact that I had spread it throughout my household, that I was the cause of so much pain. If only the pain was all my own, then I could deal with the consequences on my own. If only I could leave, then I would be the only one responsible, the only one held accountable, but the only one suffering, the only one enjoying and suffering. That would be just fine by me. I couldn’t wait to leave from my parents’ home and party every night and suffer every morning, alone, without thinking about reality. Such is the state of many young people, for me it’s taken a few years to even begin escaping from that state of mind, but I’m making progress. We all need help sometimes, and I know it’s tempting to behave as if we’re all along, us against the world, and that we’ll make it on our own, that we’ll show them. Keep cool though, put your pride to the side, and appreciate those who love you, even if they disagree with you, even if they annoy you. Try your best to understand them, to truly listen, especially to your family. Give them a chance, build a stronger bond, family is meant to help each other. Don’t take them for granted and always do your best to keep the peace with them.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 42.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 38: Philosophy and The Meaning of Life.

Philosophy is great, but it can be dangerous. Everything is usually great and has the potential to be dangerous if used in the wrong ways, or by the wrong people at the wrong time. But we all must philosophize, at least personally, about our own lives, in order to create some kind of order. We all need to have a meaning in life, and simply living, loving our family and friends, and being the best we can be is possibly the greatest source of meaning we can find, other than sincerely searching for, and finally finding, God. How should we give meaning to our lives though? Some argue that life has no meaning, yet I notice that even these people try to improve their personalities in some way. If life was truly meaningless, then what would be the point of trying to better ourselves, to try to create order from chaos in our own lives. The only way we can come to this realization of order is by analyzing, by understanding the philosophies of the world and the ones we have subscribed to, unknowingly, over the years. Then what we need to do is to develop new habits, ones that will allow us to break free from an often nihilistic and depressing viewpoint of life, and to embrace the fact that, in reality, life has much more meaning than they were previously willing to admit. The mere system of union between a loving couple, of procreation and of life continuing in a family, of parents raising and unconditionally loving their children until they grow, instilling love into their children’s hearts with their very own actions. There is a flip side however, as there is to everything in this world of duality, as parents can impose their destructive beliefs onto their children, even without knowing it at times, by being bad examples when confronted with any given situation. The point is that, one cannot ignore the great significance of this unity between two people, to complement each other throughout their lives, to learn what it means to truly have to sacrifice yourself for someone at times, especially when children come along. Then these children take the best and the worst of both parents, plus a whole lot from its own unique environment as well, and blends all of it together to create a new person, who might very likely be a new family man or woman. And so life goes on, indefinitely. What for though? Are we free to assign meaning to anything and everything, just as we please, trusting everything we believe to be true? In a way, yes, we are all free to find meaning in our own lives, and we should definitely do this, we should never ignore or depreciate those blessings which have been ours all along, some of which we have actively neglected for so long. One example is when we try to act tough, so we try to stop being vulnerable, we try to stop connecting with people, we feel that there is no point to life, or to play the game of life with all these people around us. It’s tempting to feel like this sometimes, like a lone wolf, like it’s me against the world. I used to have this mentality back in the days a lot, I felt alone against forces which were beyond me. I’m glad I’ve overcome that now, for the most part, as I understand that life is, without a doubt, a collaborative experience, and that connections between people should be nurtured and appreciated, that for true communication to take place, we need to be true to ourselves and to those we interact with. If we play a part everywhere we go then no one will ever know the real you, they will only know fragments of you at each place, depending on how much of that true self you let show at each event. We need to come to terms with who we are, and what we are in this life. We need to understand that every human life matters equally, but that no one is superior to anybody else or matters more. We agree with this, yet we ignore the fact that, in any situation of danger, we would always look out for ourselves. We would attempt to save only those of our immediate family, our loved ones, precisely because of that, because we love them. Love compels us to go beyond our selfish self, beyond our personality and to connect, to truly feel a connection, between who we are, and who somebody else is. This love is usually complicated enough between two people, but if it’s true it will endure through the storms. What if an equally true love, but on a different scale, not in a romantic sense, but an even more complete love, a Divine love, existed and could be realized by all human beings if only we understood and truly felt a connection between our lives and those of other human beings, random people to us? After all, we are random people to them, and so are all the people we love. They would sacrifice all of us in the blink of an eye to save those they themselves love, should the tragic situation arise. We can never truly escape from this love of ourselves while we live in this world, or perhaps we can, but not living in this society. We must exchange love for the self, for love of the Self, and we must be the light that shines eternally everywhere we go, being an example of humility and love that people can feel the truth in, that people can feel inspired by. Philosophize and understand, realize that people have been attempting to figure out the meaning of life for millennia, and that philosophy and all the various religions are the result of this fact. We all feel that there’s something more to life, and that is why we try to life a meaningful life, or at least one that means something to us. Don’t give up on your life before you truly look at the value which is hidden in every crack, in every bad habit, in every problem you keep on facing, in every issue with a family member or friend, in every blessing and every love, in every enemy and friend. What does a friend mean to you, or an enemy? Is there such a thing? Reflect, philosophize, experiment, observe. Take your life in your hands, but remain humble, under the Higher Power which has given you the opportunity to live, and to even try to understand.

1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 21: Family Fun, Living in the Moment, Huxley’s “Island.”

I’m at Maria’s family’s house for the day. Her brother Luis picked us up at home last night and brought us here. Whenever we come we bring some pizza and everyone has a great pizza dinner, everyone talking in a lively manner, some on the computer, some on their phones, but everyone interacting. Although my own immediate family (parents and brothers) are back in Canada, it’s great to have a second family here in Honduras, apart from my grandparents and uncles, etc. Everyone’s been very welcoming during this past year and a half that I’ve been married to Maria, and from what they say as well as how they behave towards me, I can tell they consider me part of their family. Maria’s little brother Kevin is about to complete the sixth grade, and his last week of school is coming up, final exams and everything. Here in Honduras, seventh grade is the first year of high school, so finishing the sixth is a big deal. We watched the second Iron Man movie in the morning, Maria, Kevin and I, and now we’re just taking a break from having studied the past few hours. So far we’ve reviewed some math and some grammar. It’s great to help this little guy learn, and I hope I can be as positive an influence as possible during the time we spend together. I feel like I have a new younger brother, and he seems at least a bit more excited to study with me than with anyone else. We don’t study every weekend, but on most weekends, usually on Sundays when we come to visit, we do some studying. It feels good to let go of my own schedule for a while and become absorbed in helping someone else, especially a growing child about to reach adolescence in a few years. As I believe in the inherent goodness within all humans, I know that this is why it feels so good to help. Our study sessions also help me with my spiritual practice in various ways. As I mentioned, they provide a way for me to take the focus off myself, my own plans and preoccupations, and to focus completely on giving my best in every aspect to another being who is at a critical stage of life and growth. Apart from this, it helps with my patience. Kevin’s a lively kid, upbeat and full of life. This is great, although it often means that he can’t sit still for too long and is always trying to distract me from my teaching. He tries to grab his phone and show me YouTube videos, and sometimes he even asks questions or mentions an idea he’s had recently about some topic he finds interesting. I don’t shut him down, instead I usually interact with him and allow him to show me what he wants to show me. It’s true that we often take even double the time we might actually need if we focused completely on studying with no time for pause, but I feel that the only reason why he even quiets down to study for some moments is because of the connection we are building as we talk, as I allow him to express himself without stopping him mid-sentence and yelling to get back to work or to pay attention. Kids are full of energy, energy we lack too often as adults, and instead of showing them that this energy is evil, and forcing them simply to sit and follow rules, we should encourage this energy, and once they’ve shown us what they want to show us, then we can remind them that we have to have a balance and that we should do some more studying. I don’t know if this is the most efficient way to learn, but I guess it’s been working for him for the past few months. Maria usually does most of the math studying with him, and I do most of the reading or grammar studying, so it’s great to have grown up in an English-speaking country, since it allows me to help him to learn everything correctly and to hear a fluent pronunciation. Anyway, now that we’ve done some studying, I decided to do some writing, so that I have time to work on my other goals later when I get back home. I wasn’t sure what I should write about. This being my twenty-first day straight of writing a thousand words a day, I feel I might be running out of things to write. Actually, what’s happening is that the simplest topics, or the ones I understand more fully, have all been notated up to this point. The topics I have yet to write about are all deeper, spiritual concepts, and I feel I need to take some serious time to not only write these ideas down, but then to organize them in order to publish them in a fashion that makes sense, that isn’t all over the place. That isn’t the point of this experiment though, of writing a thousand words a day. This is supposed to be more freestyle. So as I wondered for a moment what I should write about, it dawned on me. I’ve been having a great time all morning, absorbed in the task of studying, or of helping Kevin study, and so I decided to just write about the simply beauty of that moment. Just last night actually I finished reading Aldous Huxley’s “Island”, and it really impressed me in the way in which it is able to convey such deep topics in the context of people’s personal lives. It delivers certain spiritual ideas in such a powerful way, more powerful than any philosophical treatise in a way. One of the most important topics in the book is that of simply being in the moment, in the here and now, of simply being completely aware of each moment, accepting all that comes, understanding we are essentially divine, meaning that the real part of us cannot be harmed by pain, or by pleasure. It is always there, undisturbed, and it is essential that we learn to reconnect with our pure state of consciousness, with being in the now. Still meditating on the depth and meaning of this great novel, I decided I’d simply write about the great experience I just had before I started writing, the experience of being in the moment , forgetting myself as I shared what I could, selflessly, with another human being. 

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 22.

~ Rebel Spirit

1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 13: Immigrating to Canada, Pressure from Parents.

I was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I lived in Honduras, both in Tegucigalpa, the capital, as well as San Pedro Sula, the industrial capital, for ten years before my family immigrated to Canada. My father studied economy and received his Master’s Degree. He is a very intellectually driven man who takes pride in his understanding of the world, of business and of money. He left a job with the United Nations, working on humanitarian projects throughout my birth country of Honduras, and moved to Canada where he struggled to find work. With help from a job agency he was able to get odd jobs here and there, finally settling at a fireplace factory. Apart from having to wake up in the early cold which we wasn’t used to for a job which he was ridiculously overqualified for, my dad was also not used to carrying heavy machinery and equipment at work. A year or so after he began working there he found out he had a hernia and had to have surgery for it. Thankfully he was fine, and nowadays he has a much better job at a bank, which suits him a bit better for sure. Despite his temper, my father is really someone I greatly admire due to his determination to make ethical decisions in life. My father believes in doing everything right, in the way it needs to be done. Growing up I always wondered why I was so different from my father, but lately I’ve been having epiphanies which clearly show me just how similar we both are. We both have crazy ideas of unique projects. We both enjoy speaking to people and can talk non-stop when it comes to a topic we are passionate about. My dad is sort of extreme in a way, something I never wanted to admit for myself but which I need to come to terms with now. He tells me not to wear a beard when I fly so I don’t get seen as a threat, yet he wore a long beard when he was younger too. He tells me to play it safe and to study hard to have a promising career, to dedicate myself to it in order to get a head start while I’m still young, yet he left his home country in order to find his own way when he was young as well. That’s what led him up to his meeting with my mother, in the country of Honduras where my two brothers and I were all born. My mother’s family moved here from Nicaragua due to the Sandinista revolution which took place decades ago. My mother is a saint. She is a devoted follower of Christ and the Bible and she sacrificed much time apart from her work to make sure that we learn Biblical morals as well as practiced what we needed to know for school and did our homework. She always told me (and still does) that I have great potential which I waste by deciding to do things in a mediocre way. I never argued because I couldn’t deny it. I was never a big fan of school. As I started hanging out with my friends I started ignoring all the great times I had with my parents growing up and all they sacrificed for my brothers and I. My father always spoke to me in his native Portuguese so I was able to gain a fairly fluent understanding of it growing up. When I traveled to Brazil on my own for the larger part of a year I finally got some street practice, and I really felt free speaking Portuguese, I was feeling the Brazilian vibes. While in Rio, I was amazed at how hot it was, even hotter than San Pedro Sula in Honduras. While in Brazil, I first stayed in Sao Paulo at the home of a good family friend who I had never met, an old friend of my father who is a Baptist church pastor. He’s a sympathetic guy and he gave me some good life advice and treated me as his son while I was there. I’ve noticed that throughout life I’ve received such respectful treatment from many individuals as a result of their deep admiration for my father. For this reason I sometimes feel ashamed with my own performance in life thus far. I feel the pressure of great expectations which my parents have for me. If they were careless or irresponsible parents I never would have felt so guilty for going astray from their teachings. One of the saddest feelings of my life has been that of not being able to properly connect with my parents. Their religious beliefs make them very close minded when it comes to anything spiritual. It was only in recent years, once my dad started attending a Kabbalah class at the synagogue he is attending, that he began investigating deeper into mysticism and the idea that maybe things are a lot deeper than he had thought they were. For many years now he has considered himself a Jew, and has wanted to influence my brothers and I into undergoing complete conversion to Judaism, which he believes to be the true path to God. My mother is quite convinced with Jesus Christ’s promise of salvation for those who believe and pray in His name. She doesn’t feel the need for us to further investigate into the nature of God or the universe, and her closed mindset to these sorts of concepts bother my father and lead to great discord. But if their belief in God leads to discord whenever expressed between the two, then is it really serving its purpose at all? Spirituality is not something exclusive which can be taken up and dropped as a habit or custom can. Spirituality is everything, it is the essence of who we are. It is not a philosophical label or a religious sect, it is the realization that we are spiritual beings and that there is a spiritual purpose and significance to everything that happens, to every physical phenomenon. Spirituality means having a deeper connection to the true causes of things, to the nature of the effects and which causes they come from. Spirituality means balancing what needs to be done on this Earth with the time we need to spend contemplating heavenly concepts. Spirituality is balance in all aspects of life. A spiritual life is one which is well balanced and allowed to flourish, a life which is not lived for the sake of fulfilling vain worldly desires, but one which is lived for the purpose of doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. At least I find satisfaction in knowing that both my parents are people who are committed to living righteously; hopefully this can overcome any unreasonable habits that might come along with absolute belief in a single religion.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 14.

~ Rebel Spirit

1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 10: Cannabis, Self-Reflection and Writing.

The culture here in Honduras is very different from the one I experienced and became a part of in Canada. Most of the experiences which have truly shaped my personality the most up to this point are those that I had in Canada after my parents decided to move there when I was ten, at least until recently when I returned here to be married to my beautiful wife Maria. I grew up in Vancouver, BC, more specifically in the Surrey area. Many things that I grew up seeing as totally normal were things that completely shocked and terrified my folks, such as my appreciation for cannabis which started at the young age of thirteen. My parents went through a lot of suffering due to my love for that sweet BC bud. I always had to, and did, keep in mind that my parents come from Latin American countries where illegal “drugs” are associated with tremendous levels of organized crime and violence; it is a business which is fully controlled by gangs. In Canada, on the other hand, everyone and their mom smokes bud, or even sells it. Seeing my mom suffer like she did when I was finally caught selling at school made me never sell weed again, at least as a job, even though I think the laws which make it illegal in the first place are completely bogus. I couldn’t be happier about the fact that cannabis is now legal in Canada, nationwide, since October 17th, 2018. This is necessary in order to break the stigma, in order to open the world’s eyes to the fact that cannabis is not a dangerous drug, but rather a powerful and potent plant in many respects. Just like everything in this planet, it can definitely be abused, so it must be used with moderation. Balance is something which needs to be applied to every area of our lives if we want peace of mind. My belief is that no substance in the world is completely bad or good. Some cause more suffering than the experience is worth, and some ease the suffering of many people as long as they’re used properly and treated with respect. It is all about the way anything is used, just like the internet, or the TV, or social media. Just because so many people feel empty and alone or misunderstood in this dull world so devoid of life to the point where they begin desperately abusing weed, or alcohol, or pharmaceuticals, or any other substance for that matter, is not a valid reason to label the substance itself as evil. And if this was the actual reason why a substance like weed was ever illegal then all pharmaceuticals would have been completely forgotten as soon as the dreaded opioid epidemic reached massive proportions. I’m sure glad the fight is over in Canada, but I’m also speaking for and to the rest of the world where people who just want to chill a bit, as well as people who really need their weed have their basic rights denied and as branded as criminals. In reality, most problems related to pot use are due to its illegal status, including my own problem with my school and even with my parents’ view of it. Apart from that some people say that weed makes you lazy. I’ve thought about this in depth and to explain I must tell a bit of my own story. Cannabis has been a trusted friend to me for a very long time. The effect one feels after consuming this plant can obviously vary immensely from person to person depending on mental state and many other factors, but its general effect is usually one of slight sedation as well as of comfort or relaxation. At times I’ve felt as if I were becoming completely immersed in a bunch of blankets, as if I were sinking into my warm bed or something as soft as clouds, as if I were fading away into a dream as I lie in under the stars, my eyelids slowly closing over my vision. Most of my most wonderful weed memories are from my earliest days with it.. One cool thing I notice is that although cannabis makes one feel so wonderfully comfortable, it does not blind one to the facts of life, and in a way it shares an important quality with all psychedelics: the ability to bring you into deeper contemplation of your own thoughts. Interesting ideas seem to envelop my attention to the exclusion of everything else around me. I started to figure this out for the most part after having the realization that I didn’t want to live a life of time-wasting any more. This realization hit me the most while high one day, when I realized that I was losing motivation to work towards my goals, and I couldn’t lie to myself about it. This thought made me evaluate my daily activities and be honest with myself about when I was wasting time. Then I would do something more productive during that time in order to improve at being productive. I realized that all the time I was spending on weed after work might be holding me back and preventing me from doing more important things ,along with time wasted scrolling on Facebook or partying with friends. After work I would walk two blocks from Homer Street over to West Hastings on the corner of Victory Square in Downtown Vancouver. After purchasing the product at the corner dispensary I would merely cross the street to the New Amsterdam Café, a lounge where anyone can come in, and for a five dollar fee, smoke freely in a comfortable and secure area with some trippy paintings on the walls. Music is always playing, munchies are for sale, and any smoking or vaping equipment is provided if needed. There are large spots with conjoined couches for big groups, and there are also individual couches for the more introspective stoners. I usually went alone since I went right after work, and plus I preferred to blaze alone in those days anyway my main reason for being back in Vancouver being to save up for my then upcoming wedding. I would walk in like I was home and remove my tedious tie and jacket with a sigh of sweet relief as I proceeded to plop down on one of the free couches. Then I would continue to unpack everything I needed: the weed came out of my pocket, the grinder and papers were in my bag along with the lighter, and I was already deciding what music I would listen to for the next little while om my 160GB iPod Classic. After deciding on an album or a playlist I would commence the rolling of the humongous joint which was about to be blazed up. Since I had been waiting all day to smoke (the job I was currently working allowed me no opportunity to wake ‘n bake), this session was always meant to take me all the way. I would properly pack up a full KingSize RAW paper and roll a fat joint longer than my index finger, ending it with a nice filter which I took my time to make with perfect precision. It was almost as if I were trying to last as long as possible without sparking the joint, as if the satisfaction were such that I just had to hold it off in order to feel it even more the second I lit it. It was during these relaxing times of stoned self-reflection that the idea of writing really began to take shape in my mind. More on this tomorrow though.

To be continue tomorrow, on Day 11.

~ Rebel Spirit