Monday, October 8, 2012

Coming to America

Hiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeee!  I'm  going to America!!

So, at first I was like noooo it's too expensive, and noooo I'm 99.9% sure I'm moving back to the US in July/August so why go now...

But then my friend Nichole was like, shut up with all that talk, GO.  Her rationale was that yeah, it's expensive, but the Japanese government will send me like 3 times that amount once I return to the US in pension, and that I NEED to go for my psyche.  She said that she isn't even that uncomfortable in Japan (she is pretty much fluent, so much so that she will be the first native English speaker to go to grad school in Oita starting in July, and these are not special classes for foreigners or anything, she is doing it in Japanese), but she STILL stood in Target for like an hour basking in the complete understanding she had of everything around her.

That sounds so awesome... at a Target with a Starbucks, obviously.

To sit at Barnes & Noble with a pile of books that I found perusing... a hobby of mine I haven't enjoyed in over 2 years... heaven. 

I think it will be healing and enlightening.  I think it will make the time I have in Japan after my trip even better.  I will see it with fresh eyes.

So, I leave Japan from Fukuoka on December 20th and after a change in Dallas, arrive in Tampa the same day at 2pm.  I'll be in Florida from December 20th until January 3rd.  I am looking forward to meeting my nephew Aiden, seeing my family that I haven't seen in 2 1/2 years, and seeing lots of friends.  I hope that my best friends from Miami and North Carolina can come to see me.  I miiiiight go to Gainesville, but I don't see myself doing much traveling within Florida once I get there from JAPAN.  I'm so looking forward to bringing Knox around to see everyone, and sharing my beautiful boy with so many family and friends that haven't seen him since he was 16 months old!!

I'm also looking forward to experiencing Christmas and New Year's, and bringing good presents back to people in Japan, now that I understand what good omiyage is.  Megan and I shall have a chai, but it looks like our lunch place isn't there anymore.  Ayne and I shall have wine while our boys sleep. 

I have something really special to look forward to.  I will not be sitting on my butt at school, feeling useless and bored.  There's more to life than money, and this trip is valuable to me in less calculable but very significant ways.  And I didn't pay for this trip with a credit card, I paid "cash," so I'm not creating debt, at least.  

I'm gonna connect, and while I'm there, I can talk to some brilliant and trusted friends and look around at that world and decide what to do next.  I think being there will give me confidence.  From so far away, it's hard to feel sure, but when I'm standing there, I think I will think to myself, I can do this.

Speaking of... 

My faith has grown recently.  I've been praying a lot, and I can really feel the difference in my body.  I pray for resolve, and for my resolve not to waiver.  I pray that I will remember that I don't have to know or do everything, that the path is laid out for me; I don't have to lean on my own understanding.  I pray for the guidance and strength to endure all that will come at me in the next year.  I pray for my life to be simple.  

Now let's do some pelvic thrusting with Neil.  Skip into 1:00 to skip the intro, and the good thrusting is at 1:14.  Sing into a hairbrush or a spatula.

Coming To America
Neil Diamond

From Japan,

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Before You Act: Hemingway

Before you act, listen...

I'm listening.  I'm listening to my heart, and consulting my mind.  I'm listening to the silence behind the sounds all around me.  I believe there are answers there, and in some moments, understanding dawns.  I'm finding calm.

Before you react, think...

At this, I have failed, so now I have less to react to, and that is healthy for me.  Simplicity heals.  A crowded mind has no space to think, so the reactions come... willy-nilly.  :-)  Willy-nilly, I think, is no way to conduct one's self.  Space in the mind allows for perspective.  In a cluttered mind, like on a cluttered desk, you can't find anything... everything is a scramble.  It's time for me to clear my space so I can think.

Before you spend, earn...

So I guess I'm not going to law school.  Ha!

Before you criticize, wait...

In my world growing up, there was no waiting on my behalf, so I didn't learn waiting.  But I have as an adult, and I'm getting much better.  Even the most constructive criticism is best given after some healthy, quiet discernment.  People, I've found, like to rest in their own truths.  And I've learned that truth is much more subjective than I always believed.  Again, space is a healthy answer; space to allow others to be as they are, even if their truths are a little different than yours.

Before you pray, forgive...

This is one of those wonderful things that seems hard to remember to do.  Forgiveness feels like a supernatural thing to me... Despite my doubts, when I seek it, it comes, and it dissolves pain.  When we don't forgive, it can be painful to others, but we mostly feel that pain ourselves.  

Before you quit, try...

If I'm seeing myself clearly, I'd say this isn't hard for me.  I'm not afraid to put myself out there.  I'm a great-big-huge-giant believer that the benefits always outweigh whatever pain or failure may come.  If you can hurt, you can love, and nothing is greater than love.

And in my life, at least once, quitting WAS trying... I wanted to do something, and I was scared.  Fear often keeps people from trying for what they want.  They are scared of what might happen.  I wanted to quit college.  But I was scared of what might happen.  I dreaded what resistance I would meet.  Just the same as moving to Los Angeles to audition and advance my performance skills, people had so many doubts and opinions to give as to why I shouldn't do it, why it was risky, and what I should or could do instead.  I knew it was a big decision, but I wanted to try it, so I quit college.  I am very proud of myself for quitting college.  It took huge cojones for me to follow through with that, and a lot of strength for me to deal with the extreme reactions I got from some family.  

You have to do things that take strength to be strong.

My dad accused me of being on drugs and sold my car out from under me.  It was so hard to follow through with what I wanted, but I was convicted, and nothing could stop me.  And because I didn't let fear guide me, I learned, experienced, and became stronger.  

And a side benefit is that I have a lot of great stories to tell about the many things I did (became a coffee aficionado, met and worked with Broadway/TV/Movie actors at a Tony Award winning theater festival, was friends with Mia Farrow's daughter and Lewis Black, got engaged, escaped a cult, lived in NYC, overcame severe depression and OCD) during that year and a half before I returned to college and graduated. 

That Hemingway was a smart dude.  Too bad he didn't take his own advice.

From Japan,