Monday, November 28, 2011

Tension-Blob Force Fields

Get ready people:  I'm feelin' the fire.  That's what the Boss will do to you.  I know you know who the Boss is.  No, dummy, it's not Andy Samberg.  No, it's not Seth Rogan, either.  It's Tommy Lee Jones.

You know why I like to write?  'Cause I can make jokes without anyone interrupting.  Don't you hate when you are at the pub and you are gonna say something miraculously funny, and then everyone is distracted because some asshole is like, "Hey, look, I love this commercial!" and then the moment is dead and your awesome joke never gets born.  Actually, lack of interruption is a perk of posting that I just thought of, but it's not really why I like to write. 

Ok.  This has been on my mind, and I'm gonna talk it out wit cha.  So, when I have something difficult to say, I do it in a few ways.  Category #1: I say it.  Cat #2:  I write it.  Cat #3:  I say it after lots of prodding (by myself or someone else) and I probably cry while I do it.  Cat #4:  I never say it.  There are probably sub- categories, and Cat #3 should probably be a sub- category.  Maybe not though.  You'd be surprised how often that actually happens.  I'm not that smart and I have a big mouth, you know.

Now, I have been trying to figure this thing out so that I can understand it and free myself of it, as I try to do with all unhealthy practices.  Once I become cognizant of dis-ease in my life, I try to do something about it.  I don't want to feel this uncomfortable tension between me and the world when I have something to say that I perceive will not be received well, and I don't think it's necessary.  It's just something I have to observe and release. 

So, for the first step in dissolving this discomfort, I tried to observe my feelings and thoughts, which led right quick to a visualization... or like, an awareness of the physical manifestation of my tension...  A wee tangent; people seem to treat intuition, and feelings especially, with inadequate respect because they are intangible.  Maybe they are intangible, but they are not abstract, and they are extremely valuable to us if tapped.  Intuition and feelings may be abstruse, but they are real...

So, the awareness... when I shift my focus to observe this thing that is happening with me, I am aware of a blob-like force field between me and the object of my discomfort.  There is tension.  I have been trying to find the right words to describe this thing, so I tried to draw a picture of it.  Why the picture?  It's always good to think of things from different perspectives.  I wanted to see it out of me and on the paper as to inspire new and different thoughts, and words.  I drew myself in stick-figure glory, and I drew the Earth as seen from space (Americas-centered).  I also drew the tension-blob force field.  So there is me, and there is the world.  First of all, it is interesting that I see myself as separate from the world.  That's definitely a point of value, and possibly the only point that ultimately matters in my quest.  Second of all, and which interested me more at the time, is that when I drew the tension-blob, without thinking I drew it at my head and my stomach.  This made me think of the chakras, which made me think of Natalia.

Natalia is my female soul-mate, I think.  We were neighbors in LA for almost 3 years, and became great friends.  Now I live in Japan and she lives in Hawaii.  Natalia does Reiki and a bunch of other cool stuff. 

I think there is something to the location of the TBFF (tension-blob force field).  On one hand, it might be interesting to figure out what the significance is; that's the Freudian hand that wants to know about the blob's childhood and shit.  On the other hand, the hand I prefer, it makes no difference what the significance is...

AWWWWWWWE shit.  Remember when I wrote A Healthy Whole and I said I didn't have the energy to expound upon my spiritual beliefs?  I think now is the time. 

You see, I believe that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.  I know, cliche.  But I believe it, so I'm funna say it.  I believe in all the cliches;  "All you need is love," "Love conquers all," "God is everything and everything is God," "We are the world, we are the children" and all that jive...  I believe that we are not separate from God and that God is not separate from "us."  (There can't be an "us" because then there has to be a "them" or some representative of that, and I don't believe that it exists.)  We all are.  It all is.  That's my truth.  What happens is that we get separated from the truth by tension-blob force fields.  All the TBFFs are the same, even if they are different.  They are shadow.  TBFFs are the thoughts and resulting feelings we have about everything.  Sure, we usually only complain when things aren't to our liking, but TBFFs can be good or bad.  When they are really great and awesome, perhaps we feel better than others.  Separation.  When our TBFFs are bad, perhaps we feel lonely.  Separation.  We are not separate; we CREATE separation.

At the first moment we are just aware.  In moments following we judge.  In the space in between awareness and judgement lives our divinity.  Our judgements open up space between ourselves and others, or the world, or whatever, and in that space manifest unhappiness, dissatisfaction, fear, and the like.  Those things are our tension-blob force fields.  If we are not at peace, then we've got a TBFF to bring the light of our attention to.  By "light of our attention" I mean our awareness, our consciousness, and only that.  Awareness separate from thought.  Consciousness separate from judgement.  How much time can pass between one's awareness of something and one's judgement of that thing?  That, my friends, is what I call meditation, and that's why meditation calms and heals; because you are spending time in the space of your divinity, and that's home.  That's heaven.

Problems occur when we fail to use the resource of our presence.  If I go straight from awareness to judgement, I am not present.  I am a hostage of my mind, which is a part of my temporal human body.  It's not ME.  When we let the mind run off unchecked, we let the sound of our own wheels drive us crazy, as The Eagles so aptly warned.  If I can get my brain to shut the fuck up for a quick minute, and focus my awareness on my personal TBFF, I can dissolve it.  I created it with my mind, and I have the power to dissolve it, if I use the tools at my disposal.  How to get the mind to quiet down and how to hone that power is another story.  Practice is a huge factor.

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.  I am the walrus.  Goo goo g'joob.

I'm not going to talk about it a whole lot because I can't find a citation, but I once heard about a group in Europe or the Middle East that discovered a text from biblical times.   From what I remember, they did a new translation that was of some validity.  They translated, again, John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life."  This tenet of Christianity covers pretty much everything and is used ad nauseam.  The re-translation went something a little different:  "The way and the truth and the life are in you."  Whatever the case that was true in the world, this latter version is what I believe.

I believe that the light is in us.  I believe that it is the essence of us and free of time.  Whenever I feel bad about something, I remember that there is a part of me, and I believe of you, that is absolutely perfect and cannot be diminished by anyone or anything.  Truly, there is nothing that we can say or do to earn our way to everlasting life or heaven.  It's hard to earn something you already have.  

From Japan,
Tiffany

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Life Update

I have this thing where if I don't stop and write at the moment my muse stirs, I lose it.  I mean, not my mind or anything:  I lose the idea, or the spirit with which I was cogitating.  I mention it 'cause right now I want to write and I have time to write, but I'm not feelin' the mojo.  Also, I need to pump out the posts or my stats will sink, which are the weights to my feelings-of-self-worth-buoy.  Just kidding!  Sort of.  I do love my stats.  I share that narcissism with A.J. Jacobs (he talks about it in The Year of Living Biblically), and like a million other artistic people. 

So, I got another box from Victora's Secret and I got a Victoria's Secret credit card.  I can hear the moans from across the ocean, but I swear, I'm...  I was just gonna swear that I was in control, but I'm not.  I'm not gonna lie or deceive myself.  I love shopping.  I love the feel of the super soft VS sweat pants, and having, I think for the first time in my life, matching bras and underwear that are not black or nude.  I've had a couple cute things over time, but very far and few between, and I had never owned anything from VS PINK until about 2 days ago...  But, I AM a little bit in control.  I'm only using the card to get free stuff, which the company sends you because you are using the card, and to maintain/build credit in America.  I can't just drop off the credit map for a couple of years.  I pay for an order and then go straight to my online VS account to pay it... I know, that's not helping build my credit much, but it's something (the credit companies LIKE to see a person maintain a balance and then pay it responsibly over time, but I don't wanna do that 'cause money has never really clicked with me and I don't want to forget to pay it.  Basically, the credit companies will get the proof they are looking for:  I'm challenged when it comes to asset management). 

You'll be glad to hear that things with me and Victoria's Secret are slowing down.  This is happening because I now own everything they have to offer me and my current needs.  I mean, I don't really have a situation where I'm gonna need the cowgirl teddy, so I'm not going to order it.  I might go for a thing or two here and there, but this recent obsession is ebbing.  On to J. Crew!  Ann Taylor!  American Apparel!  Banana Republic!  Just kidding.  Actually, now that I mention it, I'm going to check out BR.  I'm jonesin' for a Christmas-green cable-knit crew-neck silk/cotton-blend sweater.  Yeah, I get specific.  I'd say throw a little cashmere in, but even I, at my income level, know to stay away from $200 sweaters... you know, for the most part.  Wahahahahaha!!!!

Knox is great.  Although, I'm more a Sergeant than a Mommy.  I worry that I am too hard on him.  I don't know if it's his personality or if it is that he is 2, but he won't do anything I ask if I'm not all business.  Bribes work, usually, but I'm not really into that.  The trouble is that he's just like me:  Rascally, exceptionally stubborn, and SENSITIVE.  He won't do something, so I turn on Army Mommy, and he breaks down and cries with the saddest face I've ever seen, and I want to cry because I caused it.   

It seems like I get to be with him so little, and during the time I am with him I'm making him cry.  ;-(  It also doesn't help that I have high expectations.  I've taught 2-4 year olds ballet and tap since I was about 9 or 10 years old, as an assistant and a teacher, and I never realized how little they were until I had Knox.  My classes were not disguised baby sitting.  Two years old or no, you better get up on them toes.  Now though, I know how young they really are, and I see that babies are not just little adults.  Also with the expectations, I was at a Japanese friend's house last night and her kid was sitting on her lap at the computer, purposely pulling paper off of the bottom shelf with his feet.  It was going everywhere, and he was so proud of himself.  If that was Knox, we would've had words for sure.  As they say, parenthood doesn't come with a manual.

He's beautiful, though, and maybe it's mommy bias, but he seems so smart and talented and funny!!  He sings songs, like Bruno Mars' The Lazy Song, and he even does the vocal scats.  And he'll fake me out, which seems like a smart thing to be able to do for a 2 year old.  He's such an actor, and he even has different degrees of acting where sometimes he's doing it for a laugh, and sometimes he's totally method and really trying to get something.  Being a mommy is so not easy, but I love my little bubby boo boo.

Peter has his own apartment now.  He has described it as "pimp", but I haven't seen it yet to confirm.  His walk to downtown is 12 minutes, which is indeed pimp.  He has only slept there for the past 2 nights, so we are early in the transition, but now that he has officially moved in to his own place I wanted you all to know.  I think this is excellent for both of us.  We are both really happy with this change.

'Tis the season of Bounenkais (end of year parties) and holiday traveling.  I have friends going to Australia, England, and Thailand, to name a few, and I'll spend a few days and maybe New Year's Eve in and near Tokyo.  I had planned on Okinawa, but I'll save that for Golden Week in May, or the summer.  Plans change. 

Again, I'll tell you that I love Japan.  I want to stay.  I don't know for how long, but life here is very good.  Neither my mind nor my heart say go.  I can't imagine, right now, making the choice to leave this life.  I really want to visit the United States, maybe next summer, maybe next Christmas... I need to meet my nephew Aiden!!  There are lots of people I need to see.  I'm off.

From Japan,
Tiffany 

    





   

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Optimism

I am in the midst of grading many, many essays on the topic of optimism vs. pessimism.  The stuff they were saying was driving me batty, so I've written them a note.  It will be printed for them in English and Japanese. 

Students,

Many of you think that to be an optimist means that you feel happy all the time. 

This is not true.

The following is a very simple way to think of optimism:  If you have an optimistic perspective, it means that you maintain hope.  That’s all.

You know what that means?  It means when you lose a basketball game, it’s ok to feel sad.  It means that when you get a low score on a test, it’s ok to cry.  Feeling sad does not mean that you are not an optimist.  It just means that you feel sad.  Being an optimist does not mean that you deny your natural emotions.  Your thoughts FOLLOWING the perceived failure are what make you an optimist or a pessimist.

An optimist would think…
“I can and will do better next time.”
“With time and practice, I will be a better player.”
“I will remember all of the good things about being a part of this team, even if we lose.”
“I did poorly on that test, but I am still a good and smart person, and I know I can succeed.”

Give yourselves a break.  Relax…  I remember having a crying fit about getting a B in a psychology course when I was in college.  I was so sad, and mad, and disappointed.  Guess what?  It’s about 6 years later, and my B grade in psychology has not mattered at all to my life.  I also remember spending $1000 on surgery for my cat, a cat that I had spent a lot of energy being mad at because it killed my iguana.  It was probably stupid to spend $1000 on my cat.  It’s not something I wanted.  But, I did it, and I felt more love from that cat than I have felt from many people.  I felt how grateful she was that I was with her in the hospital.  I learned so much about the value of life and what we creatures are capable of.   I did not expect this experience to be good.  I had no goals related to this experience.  But, it turned out to be important to my life.  My point is that we have to keep things in perspective.  Sometimes it seems like the end of the world because WE have placed so much value on something.  Maintain hope and give yourself time, and you may laugh about something that once devastated you.    

Someone mentioned that if you have low expectations, then you won’t get disappointed when you fail.  Having low expectations brings you down from the beginning, making your chances of success less likely.  Don’t set yourself up for failure.  Maybe you don’t have to have high expectations OR low expectations.  If you can approach life with an open mind, free of expectations, you just allow things to be as they are.

Several of you mentioned wanting to be different than you are.  You also said that you can’t change.  I am here to tell you that if you want to change, you CAN change.  It is very difficult to change.  I won’t tell you it’s not.  BUT YOU CAN.  How?  Reflect on yourself, your attitudes, and your reactions.  Read books on ways to think.  Learn about yourself.  Learn what you believe about yourself and the world you live in.  Allow yourself to be just what you are, but also use the power you have to apply the knowledge you gain to make the changes you desire.  If you love something, you do what is best for it.  Love yourself.

Your ALT,
Tiffany

Yeah, I'm an over-ambitious idealist.  Maybe they won't get it.  But, hey, I'm an optimist, and maybe they will.

From Japan,
Tiffany

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Address, Refreshed

***NEW*** My High School changed so here is my new address for alllll of the presents you want to send me!!

Skype:  TiffanyHope7

*I now recieve packages at school.  It's much easier :

Getting those slips on my door that say they "tried to deliver a package and I wasn't home so I'll have to call for re-delivery or pick up my package at the post office" give me anxiety and make me groan.  You think speaking Japanese is hard?  Try it on the phone.  SO.  I'm now having my packages shipped to my school.  Everyone does it.  I even have one friend who gets packages at her school no matter what address is on the box.  Each town knows their foreigner, and where to find them.  :-)

Please send packages, letters, postcards, love, and the like to:

Tiffany Breuer
Hofu High School
Haya 600-1
Oita City, Oita prefecture
870-0854  Japan

***BELOW:  still valid home address information***

Sending to Japan seems intimidating and expensive, but it's not!  And think of the joy you will bring us lonely foreigners in a faraway land.  I got a card the other day and the stamp said 98 cents.  You can do it!

Don't worry about the address too much; Japan's mail system is so good that I think if you put 'Tiffany in Japan' it would find me.  Just get it all on there somewhere and it will be ok.

Tiffany Breuer
KR 1-6
Jonan Higashi Machi 1-6-1
Oita City, Oita
870-0824 Japan
Home: 727-599-0877 - That's right Americanos, make a local call right to me in Japan!
Cell: 080-5280-9138

From Japan,
Tiffany

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

CHARACTER

What is character?  It's really fucking important.  That's what it is. 

I'm in rare form today.  If you got opinions and judgements on your to-do list, avert your eyes now, 'cause I have no plans on sugar coating today's special installment.  I haven't had much sleep this week.  I drank A LOT on Monday night.  I'm quite a bit under the influence right now, and my head feels funny when I look from one thing to another.  I don't really have my wits about me, and yet I'm feeling passionate about this topic.  So, the way I communicate it might be... interesting.  Let's see how it goes!!  ( "LOL!" doesn't seem right... what's the initialism for "chagrined chuckle"?) 

Disclaimer:  This is a blog.  I want it to be entertaining.  As in acting, singing, painting, and writing, and any other art, I believe a choice should be made and a clear directive should be the goal.  I'm an aggressive communicator on top of that.  I know I'm no saint, and that I fuck up ALL THE TIME.  I try to always admit it.  Owning the truth of one's words and actions is the character I'm talking about.  Also, I was once accused of being biased in one of my posts.  Yep, uh huh, this is my blog.  I will be biased all damn day.  You want unbiased?  Read some dry psychology text.  You can't even get unbiased in the news, much less on MY blog.  I wouldn't have a blog if I didn't have so many damn opinions.  I'm not bad, I was just drawn this way. 

So, really, what is character?  According to me (and what do I know?), it's when you have a set of values that you believe in, and you act in accordance with them.  If I could enhance the "and" more, I would.  Words alone mean nothing.  NOTHING.

People almost always equate strong character with "being good."  This is not in my definition.  Whether or not you are a good person is very subjective.  Whether or not you have character I guess depends on your definition of character.  In my little world, it is not very subjective.  Maybe a little, but it's pretty easy to eye-ball it.

I do not believe having a strong character means being a "good" person.  I mean, if someone has strong character, they might be a good person, but they might not be.  I don't remember the terms from Logic... if you are a good person, you probably have strong character, but I think you can have strong character without being a "good" person.  Not mutually exclusive, I guess.  I don't know.  My head is swimming around.  I personally am much more interested in fraternizing with people of strong character, rather than "good" people.  If you have character, your words and your actions align.  That doesn't mean you are nice.  (I mean, if you are a mean person, or you like to club baby seals on the weekends, I'm probably not going to hang out with you, but that doesn't mean you don't have a strong character.)  That doesn't mean you are trying to save the world.  It means that if you say that you are a MAC/Apple elitist and purist, I better not find a Sony Tablet S in the magazine pouch next to your toilet.  And if I do, own it.  Say, "Yeah, I'm a hypocrite, but that thing was a steal."  Excuses make you a schmuck.  Owning the truth of your words and actions make you a person that deserves respect (even though you may still be a schmuck who likes to club baby seals on the weekends.  Ha!)

Having character means that if you love to talk smack about people, don't say you don't gossip.  You can talk shit all day, as long as your actions don't conflict with the words that come out of your pie hole.  Be what you are and let people choose to be around you, or not.  Do what you say, say what you do.  Own what you are, and don't pretend to be something you aren't, cause that is really fucking hard to maintain, and people will know you are full of shit in pretty short order...  For me, it's that simple.

For example sake, who has great character?

Jesus, whether you think of his story as actual or fiction, is the ultimate representation of character. WWJD?  Dude did not say one thing and do another and he did not go back on his word (so far!!! LOL!).

For the most part I'm going to stick with well known figures, but I have to follow Jesus with my friend Andrei L. (the Andrei formerly known as Andrei N.).  I do so because he lives by and up to his own standards, which led to a few friends coining:  WWAD?  If you are awesome enough to be that good of an example to the people around you, you get on the list.

Jon Stewart.  First of all, comedy isn't an easy thing to be a great success at, and he definitely is.  Imagine a young Jewish dude who wanted to do comedy, but moved to NYC and didn't get on stage for a year.  He had tons of shit jobs like most of the rest of us have growing up.  I equate his rise to the throne (and around 16 Emmy's) with strong character because he had the balls to recognize what he loved and to go for it, no matter how hard it seemed.  It takes character to make bold moves in your life.  It takes that kind of strength to have a belief and do what you have to in order to make it your life.  Lots of people love him, lots of people hate him.  Either way, he is, in my opinion, a man of character.

Your words and your loves should be your life. 

If they aren't, you are either weak or a hypocrite.  Yeah, damn that's harsh.  Yeah, well, damn that's true.  It's like in Fight Club when Brad Pitt's character threatens the shit out of that convenience store guy to either follow his dreams of being a veterinarian (I think) or get capped.  I fucking love that concept- "Follow your dreams or I am going to kill you."  Sure, people can't go around acting that way, but it's an awesome example in the fiction of film of what I'm getting at. 

WoOoOOooOw!!  I probably shouldn't post this.  Hey, there are a lot of things I shouldn't do.  We shouldn't do.  In song bird form, fuuuuuuck iiiiiiiiittt.  Hey, that reminded me of Tomek.  Oh, God, I have to go lay down.

From Japan,
Tiffany