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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 65: All Work and No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy.

Sometimes we think we’re the only ones who know how to really live life. We laugh at others who spend time thinking about or working on other things, things we personally could care less about. But we all have things we are interested in, and we all like to spend our time differently. We are free to do as we wish, all of us, and it is only natural that all of us would like to spend our time differently, seeing as how we are all very different and unique people. It’s true that some things are more productive than others, but who says that all activities have to be productive anyway? Some activities are done just to have fun, such as most games for example. Some games teach things as well, but the main idea behind a game is just to have fun. Some games allow us to win, or to lose, while some games are endless, they can’t be beat, and some are for one player, while some are for multiple players, so we see that the main purpose of a game is not always competition, it is simply to allow a person to have fun. Is there anything wrong with games because they are not leading up to anything productive? Are they simply a childish distraction from life? Not at all. We all love games, from small children all the way to elderly people. Babies are basically born playing, and whenever I visit my grandparents they’re diligently trying to fill in all the blanks of the newspaper’s Sudoku or crossword puzzle. Games like these are actually quite productive, since they allow us to exercise our thinking, as well our problem-solving abilities. It was actually a game of Sudoku which I played today, a game I’ve never seriously played before, which got me thinking about writing about this today. It was challenging, and I really had to use my brain. It took me quite a long time to fill in all the blanks. If we make a habit of doing such an activity every day then we will be sharpening our minds without a doubt. But apart from these productive games, there are many other games which, as we’ve mentioned, are not so productive. Should the playing of such games be avoided or kept to a minimum? In a way yes, but in a way no. I was never much of a gamer, but my youngest brother David really loves video games, and has a number of different consoles with different kinds of games for each one. My dad is always nagging him about reading a book, and sometimes I jump in as well and mention the fact that reading is a great way to learn about life and the world, but I feel bad because I don’t want to make it seem like gaming is an inferior activity, like he’s wasting his time by having fun. It’s true that we can become addicted to video games, that we can dedicate way more time than necessary to our progress in any game, but the games themselves cannot be blamed. We need to look at the attitude of the player. Everything in life requires balance, so it’s not good to do nothing but play. But the opposite is also true, since people who avoid all kinds of fun and games and are completely obsessed with study, or philosophy, or religion, or with any other scholarly subject, are often missing out on a lot of joy in life. Such people are usually attempting to cut fun out of their lives since they feel that it is a necessary sacrifice, one which they are willing to make in order to finally achieve that great success they are dreaming about. Not everyone can reach the greatest heights however. Many people go through life despising all the good things they’ve been blessed with. They can’t stop to play with their children, they can’t have a fun moment with their wife or husband, and they can’t let their children be children either, since they are always trying to get them to grow up. Other parents never teach their kids responsibility, and this is a great mistake, but to teach nothing but discipline with no time for fun is not good at all either. When I decided to stop drinking and smoking excessively, to start reading philosophical and spiritual books, to start meditating and trying to live life right, I unfortunately became a bit obsessed for a time. I was sick of my old life, and I knew that I needed to make radical changes in my life in order for me to really be able to change, in order to see some real results. The discipline was definitely needed, but one thing which I regret is having been so uptight about it in the beginning. I desperately wanted to change, and so I hoped to spend every second of the day meditating, reading, learning, watching documentaries, etc, and I started to look down at the world, as if everyone everywhere is always wasting time, as if people are simply passing the time without doing anything productive. I felt like this had been my life up until then, drinking and partying and wasting time, so I saw nothing but that in people’s lives. I was bothering my wife about playing too many games on the iPad, I was complaining to her, asking why she doesn’t like to read more, or isn’t more interested in spiritual or philosophical subjects. Everyone has their path to walk, and learning to live life right should not cause us to become more serious than it is good to be, it shouldn’t turn life into one long sacrifice, and it should not cause us to look down at other people simply because they don’t choose to spend their time in the same way as us. Sometimes all we need to do is to stop worrying, to sit back and relax, and to play a game and forget about the stress.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 66.

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 51: Working Back Home and Abroad.

I’m at work at the moment. Normally we don’t have internet connection here to access sites not related to the job itself, but I just randomly tried to get on WordPress today and it worked, and there’s a lot of free time in between calls, so it’s a perfect moment for me to get started with today’s writing goal. I got Maria (my wife) sitting right beside me, and in between getting these words down I’m also just joking and playing around with her. It’s great to be able to look at her throughout the day, as she expresses actual concern about whatever customer’s issue she’s dealing with at the moment, I can see it in her facial expressions and hand movements. She has a sweater on with the hoodie on her head, since it always gets a bit cold at the end of the day, when most people have gone home and the air conditioner is still cooling the place up. We assist commercial customers with their DirecTV accounts, so if you live in the States and you ever call DTV customer service for some billing or technical issues at your place of work, you might get me on the line, or my wife. We probably won’t be at this job for much longer though, maybe another few months, since Maria and I are waiting for her Canadian PR to be approved soon, so that we can travel back together. It’s a cool job for now, easy and relaxed. On my breaks I can usually go out for a joint, I just have to stay alert for the cops, because here they can take me to jail, not like in Canada. Weed wasn’t legal in Canada when I was growing up though, so I’m used to staying alert and watching my surroundings. It’s funny, I do my calls so well that the customers I attend probably have no clue that I’m in Central America, or that I’m faded as fuck. I like helping them out, though sometimes work is a bore and I wish I was doing something more interesting. No sense in wishing though, I have to remain in the now, and stay focused and working towards a better situation. It’s great that I have this available time now and that I can do my writing, since we’re planning on visiting my grandparents today when we get home. It’s been a while since we’ve went up to visit them, and they always feel real happy when we do. Maria and my grandma get along real well. So, doing my writing now will clear up some time at night, the time we need to visit them and to do other goals. It’s cool that people here in Honduras have an opportunity to practice their English by having real conversations with real people who are calling from the States. The conversations obviously center mostly around TV, around technical things, and around numbers when it comes to billing problems. It’s great that these call centers exist also because they provide jobs for many people here. The US companies hire the call centers since they obviously have to pay someone working in a call center in the States a lot more than they pay us over here. I don’t live for money though, otherwise I’d be back in Canada making much more right now. I couldn’t bear the thought of staying separated from Maria though, and throughout the whole time we’ve been waiting on her PR, I’ve been here in Honduras ever since I came back to get married with her. Our two year anniversary is coming up, in fact, on the fifteenth of this month. I’m super excited to celebrate that special day with my beautiful wife of two years, especially since it’s been a while since we hit the beach, and also since this will be the first celebration or beach day since I started my abstinence goal from alcohol. That means I’ll act like less of a fool, I’ll enjoy more, and I’ll be able to remember more of those wonderful moments. I’m excited to go back to Canada, but just as you make more money there from work, living is also much more expensive. Over here it almost feels like I’m on vacation, work is not much of a necessity, and life is a lot more relaxed. When I go back, I feel like it’s gonna be hard not to slip back into a meaningless routine, into a soul-sucking job which I will actually need in order to pay the rent, or mortgage, in order to buy food and groceries. I need to do all that here, but we always have enough, and the job is simple and relaxed. I’m not eager to take up some random job though, after the many I’ve already had already back, and to start waking up early and coming home late every day, working my ass off just to pay bills, with no time to spend with my wife or family. I’m excited because, in Canada, there’s a lot more opportunities for musicians and artists, for writers as well. But what good does it do me if I will have no time? I absolutely need to find a way to break free from the system, to be my own boss and to live more freely. That’s also kind of the point for taking this time off and staying here in Honduras. It’s great to see life from a totally different perspective, and to sometimes have a bit of an escape into a different culture, into something that sucks you out of your own life and environment and mindset back home. I’ve been thinking, brainstorming, planning as to what I will do in order to make things work when we go back to Vancouver, and I have a few ideas, one of the main ones being hard work and dedication to what I do. So, tomorrow the call center awaits again, and while it’s not so bad, and I’m thankful to God for having such a chill job at the moment, I truly wonder if the day will arrive when I’ll find myself waking up to do something much more meaningful than helping people watch TV. I’m sure many of us feel the say way.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 52.

~ Rebel Spirit

DAY 7: 1,000 WORDS: LOVE, WORK, AND MYSTICISM.

Seventh day of writing and publishing 1000 words. So I started this challenge a week ago now, with a brief explanation about what mainly motivates me to write. On Day 2, finishing up on Day 3, I detailed some of the facts of the country of Honduras, my mother land as well as where I’m currently writing this series of posts from. I began by explaining the circumstances that brought me back to this beautiful country of my birth in the first place, after having lived in Canada for about 12 years, since the age of 10. Up in Vancouver, let’s say I didn’t make the best decisions, and so shortly after completing high school I chose to come back to Honduras to avoid the chaotic atmosphere that surrounded me for a while, having always been an adventurous spirit with a deeper view of life and the world, which I unfortunately just didn’t know how to express my whole life. To me, life always seemed to be about constant change, about continuously new and exciting experiences, along with new environments and circumstances. This is one of the main reasons for my profound respect for psychedelic substances as well, a topic I will go more in-depth into in later posts. I came to Honduras and I started working at a call center, where I met the beautiful, loving woman who became my wife a few years later. She brought a new freshness to my life, she always displayed such kindness, such a simply satisfied demeanor, without demanding much from life, a humble person in every respect, respectful towards the world and all its inhabitants. Maria influenced me in unimaginable ways, especially since all my previous relationships had been filled with problems and had left me with trust issues, no doubt. Our meeting each other is one of the main things in my own life that have played an important role in truly convincing me of the fact that everything happens for a reason. All of the bullshit I went through back in Van, most of it self-inflicted to be honest, was necessary for me to even decide to leave in the first place, to explore my roots further and to immerse myself in Honduran culture once again. This was needed for me to meet the love of my life, something I’m forever grateful to God for. The universe unfolds in mysterious ways, and there is a positive to find in every negative we encounter, even if it’s just a new life lesson learned. The seasons changed, and we fell more in love with the passing of each day, planning to continue our life in Canada, since we had bigger plans for the future which are easier to realize in a more developed country. We decided to marry as soon as we could, and I returned to Canada to save up some quicker cash than we could both even make here combined. Yesterday I described the job which I took on in more detail, upon my return to Canada towards the end of 2015. I worked for a year and a half for a successful immigration consultant who owns his own business in Downtown Vancouver for almost 2 decades now, the same one who previously worked on my own family’s application and residency eleven years earlier. Although extremely demanding, I enjoyed the job he offered me, since not only did I learn a lot, even about discipline in general and using time wisely, but it allowed me to keep my mind off of distractions from my main goal, which was the money I needed to save. The days were so packed that they went by so damn quick, it was amazing. There was no time for thinking of being home, or elsewhere, except on my break conversations with Maria, of course. Partying and other pastimes would only work against my objective, so I wasn’t doing much of that at all. Another important aspect of my life that began to take shape back in Canada was quite an important one, it was the mystical side of things as I see them now. I mentioned in an earlier post that I grew up in a home of believers. Since a child I learned a lot about the Bible from my parents, and our family always attended Christian congregations, sometimes Messianic Christian churches as my dad has always had a deep interest in Judaism. Over the years my father began to find the Christian message shallow, and the followers of Christianity a bit hypocritical. I myself don’t agree with any wide generalization of people of any denomination or religious belief, yet I understand where his ideas come from. Finally he stopped attending church altogether and started going to synagogues instead, and attempting to learn Hebrew online with some success in fact. He went to many synagogues, just as we had gone to many different churches over the years, never really belonging as members to any specific one. One he eventually settled at to some point was a conservative Jewish synagogue, Beth Tikvah. He went there every Saturday morning for Sabbath service while my mother continued attending the Christian Baptist church on Sundays, maintaining her strong faith in Christianity. Often we would read the Bible together as a family, especially during my younger days, and there was a sense of harmony. As it seemed that my father, always being very spiritual in his outlook of life, had now lost faith in Christianity’s simple message of what many see as blind belief, and was starting to explore deeper into the nature of spirituality, the differences in religious beliefs were causing a lot of arguments between my parents in those days. I felt like some of that previous harmony was lost, so I sometimes attended the service with each of them at their respective places of worship, when I was home on either Saturday or Sunday. While attending Beth Tikvah, my father got involved in a Kabbalah class. It consisted of a small group of congregants who would meet in the small library room of the synagogue every Saturday afternoon after the main morning service, and would discuss the mysteries of the Kabbalah. I attended some of these classes with him, initially in the few times I joined him, and what I heard actually had me wanting to come back for more next week, which I started doing often. The class, or discussion, was led by a Kabbalistic Rabbi, not the official Rabbi of the synagogue, an avid reader, researcher and writer, Rabbi Joseph Saltoun, and his profound descriptions of psychic and mystical concepts, along with the texts he chose to put forth to us, sparked in me a flame has kept burning in me up to this day. At first I learned mainly about the Kabbalah, but it didn’t take too long until I expanded my knowledge, and I started learning of new, amazing things I previously knew nothing about. At that point I realized that most mystical systems have mainly the same messages for humanity, and that we are all able to follow their examples in order to live a better life. I found that this has been explained throughout history by so many teachers, and that it is an undoubtedly true message of hope for humanity. I attended just a few classes before my first flight back to Honduras, before I met my wife, and then I attended pretty much every week during the whole year I was back in Canada saving up for my wedding. I learned quite a lot, and it was the beginning of what today I would say is my mission. My mysterious meeting with Maria also seemed to go hand in hand with the mystical teachings that stress that everything in life is how it is meant to be, and that we must accept things and act accordingly at all times, being fully grounded in the now. Tomorrow we’ll get back on topic and move on with the story though, I promise! 

~ Rebel Spirit ~

DAY 6: 1,000 WORDS: A YEAR AND A HALF WORKING IN CANADA, BEFORE MY WEDDING.

Sixth day of writing and publishing a thousand words. This is the first weekend since I started this challenge for myself, and I had some plans set for today already, so I’m glad I was able to set aside some time in order to write this today, even though weekends are usually real busy for me. Maria and I woke up today really early in the morning and caught a quick bus (called “rapidito” here in Honduras, translated to “very fast”) to the Guamilito market, one of the most popular markets here in San Pedro, where one can find many beautiful hand-made crafts, all shining with lively, vibrant colors along the walls, among many other cool things. A few weeks ago we bought some stuff there actually, including a really nice wooden pipe with some Mayan kind of design, which I personally enjoyed testing out quite a bit with some good chronic. I feel it even added to the taste, but it could just be all in my head too. Today we made sure to buy some veggies, broccoli and peppers for our next few days’ meals, and also some tortillas so Maria can make some delicious tacos she’s been wanting to make for a while now. Needless to say, I can’t wait to try ’em out, since her meals are always delicious. We had a great time, it was a beautiful sunny morning, and we ate some ‘yuca con chicharron”, yucca with pork rinds, at the market just before heading back home, where we relaxed to watch a show. Maria had to go after that since she’s scheduled to work 4 hours today. I wish she could stay home with me, but it is what it is. At least I have some time to work on my writing. I also got to finish reading Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” today. Very strange story for sure. Although very simple and the plot uneventful, I enjoyed it a lot to be completely honest. It’s the first Kafka book I’ve read but my guess is that the point of the story might be to transmit a feeling of hopelessness to the reader, as the protagonist of the story finds himself suddenly turned into a giant bug overnight, and can hear his family talking about him and his situation from then on, yet cannot communicate with them in any way. It’s part of a series of books I’ve been reading since November 2018, since I set a goal for myself of reading at least a book a week. This week I finished two short books, the aforementioned “The Metamorphosis”, and Evelyn Underhill’s “Practical Mysticism”, as I often read non-fiction, sometimes even more than fiction, in fact. Now that I finished reading that story though, and commenting a bit on it, let’s keep going for now with my own story. Yesterday I left off at the part of my life when I traveled back to Canada, at the end of 2015, in order to save up for my wedding with Maria. This objective motivated me so much that for the very first time in my life I actually put my all into the job I got hired for, I really put it an effort, no doubt about it. I made sure to put in extra hours whenever necessary, to learn as quick as possible how to do everything correctly so as not to jeopardize my job. I had returned to Canada with a very clear and defined goal, to save up the money for all that Maria and I would need in order to make our dream wedding come true as soon as possible. We had a hope that we could get married in Canada, so Maria applied for a visitor’s visa, but it was unfortunately denied for very vague reasons. It seemed we just had to face the fact that we would be apart from other for the time being, there was no way around it. We still kept in touch every day on WhatsApp chat and video. Even though I returned to live at my parents’ home, they found comfort in the fact that I now had a serious objective, that I was committed to the job I had, and that I was no longer partying or hanging out with friends for no reason anymore, making reckless decisions and staying out most nights. The situation had significantly changed since those crazy childhood days, and I was enjoying a new peace of mind I had never felt before while living at my parent’s home (ever since my teenage years started, at least). Being far away from them for so long had allowed all of us to analyze our relationship, as parents and son, from a different perspective, it seemed like it had done us some good as it had renewed a fresh new appreciation for family. My newfound love had allowed me to put to the side, somewhat, my restlessness and need for constant excitement. My life became work and home, since I would have to catch the SkyTrain every morning, on weekdays, from Surrey Central station, and ride all the way Downtown to the Megrez office, and would take the same trip back home in the evenings, after getting off work and blazing up at the New Amsterdam Cafe that is, Vancouver’s most famous weed lounge which was just two blocks away from my workplace. That became my daily routine, and work was exhausting since there was never a second of the day when I was truly free of some task. This job was demanding in every sense, and especially it demanded a certain degree of seriousness and careful attention which I had never applied to any previous job I’d had in the past. I had to make sure the office ran smoothly in all its aspects. I also had to make sure I did everything as I was supposed to, since my boss, the owner of the company, hired me mostly due to his respect for my parents, who he himself helped immigrate to Canada in 2004. Although, in a way, I was more fit for the job than most of those who had held it in the past or who were aspiring for the position, speaking fluent English and Spanish as well as very good Portuguese, in some aspects I was completely unprepared, as I had never had any kind of experience with executive work, and I was only used to jobs where I was just another employee, where my work wasn’t essential at all (at least in my eyes). At Megrez, everything passed by me, and it was my task to refer each document, each case, each call, each client, to who it corresponded to, and also to scan and save and file everything in its place. There was only about 3 other employees at the company, apart from myself and the boss. The days flew by like airplanes in the sky, faster than race cars as I longed for the big day when I would return to Honduras and be reunited with my love. We’ll continue this tale tomorrow though.

~ Rebel Spirit ~

DAY 4: 1,000 WORDS: WORKING IN HONDURAS, AND MEETING MY WIFE.

Fourth day of writing and publishing 1000 words. Thankfully I woke up today feeling really motivated to finish my writing before I left for work. I realized I can reach more people during the day, probably since most English readers are awake at around the same hours as I am. I also realized that putting 1000 words together isn’t so difficult after all, which in turn made me realize something much deeper. This realization, which has come to me 4 days into this writing goal I’ve set for myself, has revealed to me the fact that, if I wasn’t writing already before and publishing something on my blog every day, it was simply because I didn’t really want to. I always said I wanted to, yet I wasn’t putting the work in as I should have, I was still second-guessing, doubting whether things can work out, making excuses and writing only for myself, or some days not even writing at all since I was even second-guessing my thoughts before I had a chance to jot them down. I was in love with the outcome, with the mental image of success that I had visualized so often, yet in my obsession I had forgotten to really feel and be at one with the present moment when my writing was taking place, when my art was being created. I feel that I’ve begun to regain that now, and needless to say I’m real glad about it. As I write simply just to write, I notice I enter a state of flow, of clear-headed continuity, much the same as the feeling I get when I create and record my raps. It’s made me see that we all have things we could naturally excel at if we weren’t so afraid. Too many of us are still living in fear, or wondering what the point is of even trying, or thinking there are a million others just like us, so what difference could we possibly make? To be blunt, this kind of thinking reveals a completely backward mindset. Our ideas of what living life really means need to drastically change. At the end of the day, all each and every one of us can ever offer the world is what we really are, and nothing else. We must be ourselves to the fullest, and not give in to fear, or to pressure, or to temptation, or to laziness or pessimism. It is enough to simply BE ourselves, to just BE HERE NOW, and the right situations are bound to come to us. But alright, now that I got that thought down as a sort of intro for today’s piece, let’s continue with the story of how I ended up back here in Honduras, writing to the world about life. To sum up Day 2 and 3 of this writing experiment of mine, I’ve been detailing how I grew up as a teenager in Vancouver, BC, in Canada, and since I got involved in a lot of problems by following the crowd and doing dumb things, and since I just couldn’t reconcile my lifestyle with living at my parents’ home, I decided to travel back to Honduras, to live with my grandparents and work at a call center for a collections agency. At that job, about a month into being employed there, I met a beautiful girl, the one who is now my amazing wife! Although I was captured by her voice, as I sat a few feet away from her, I didn’t say anything on that day. I wondered about her though. She seemed so mysterious, so quiet and simple, so relaxed, so kind. A few weeks after that experience I arrived at work and found a letter at my cubicle desk. It had a cute cat face drawing, and it said my name and some other things. A secret admirer letter? Wow, that’s weird for sure. Not many people actually do that kind of thing, especially girls, I thought. It had some initials but no name, and it never could have occurred to me that it could be from my future wife, from that mysterious girl who sat at the corner. Up to this point, I had never even thought seriously of the possibility of getting married at such a young age. I had no need to, and it seemed like an unnecessary bond, a trap that would prevent me from having endless fun with any girl I wanted. Let’s remember that up to this point in life I had always been primarily focused on fun, on what I thought and always said was “living life to the fullest”, which was basically just a delusional hedonism now that I look back at it. I never thought that things such as true love and romantic companion were possible, having only met and interacted with girls who were always getting drunk and partying and acting even crazier than me half the time! I had dated girls who cheated on me, and I saw how my friends all broke up and got back together a million times, cheated and were cheated on. All I knew was fake, everyone around me pretending to be friends, but only hanging out since we all were attempting to mask our own sorrows in drugs and partying, loyal to no one but ourselves. I understand all of this now, for sure, but at that time I didn’t have these ideas. I was ready to let the party continue here in Honduras as well. As soon as I started working at the call center I met a lot of guys like me, who all smoked weed of course, but also drank, did other drugs like coke, and partied and fucked all the time, living life day by day yet for no deeper purpose other than mainly chasing thrills. I’m not trying to judge anyone, I was living in the same way, and it’s been hard to get out of it as habits definitely do stick around for a while. I also know why it can be tempting to live in this way, since it allows for non-stop fun with minimal time for reflection, which would reveal to us our feelings of sadness, of not being truly satisfied with life. The point is that the show went on, and I was nowhere near ready for a serious relationship at that time. The first time Maria and I actually spoke was by pure coincidence. I was walking into the call center really fast from my break, and as I opened the door to go in she was about to open it from the other side. Since I was going at a considerable speed we sort of crashed, not too hard though, it was more of a hug, so we just hugged anyway and she smiled. “Sorry!” I said smiling, for having bumped into her, but I knew she enjoyed our hug just as much as I did! “No problem!” was her reply. Since we sat real close to each other, we got to talking in our free moments between calls, and shortly I figured out the letter on my desk had been from her. From there everything just kept going uphill, but I have enough words for today, so the story will have to continue tomorrow! Adios for today, amigos!

~ Rebel Spirit ~