“We say we’ll drink more water, but we don’t. We say we’ll get up and go running, but we don’t. We’ll bend over backward to keep our word to a lover, a friend, an employer, even a stranger. But we let ourselves down.” –Carolyn Myss
We’ve all had this same conversation; with ourselves, friends, family, lovers… The importance of self-preservation hasn’t been more relevant or profound for us in any other time than now. We’re all witnessing a shift in the world, for the better. In the face of oppression and genocide, there’s a light that can’t be dimmed emerging from all the pain and sorrow. This light is brightest when seen from within. Removing ourselves from standards imposed from external, foreign sources is key to discovering and expanding that light.
There are billions of ways to do this. Literally. For each inhabitant of the earth, there are at least ten ways to survive that can be found. AT LEAST TEN x 7 Billion (known) Minds= 70,000,000,000 ways to elevate and progress.
That should make you smile…
THERE YOU GO!!!
Well, I’m going to share a few from one of earth’s inhabitants>>>>
As an only child, I can tell you, being alone is not bad. At all. I actually prefer it sometimes. I wasn’t always that way, and I don’t believe I’ll always remain that way. I bounce between reclusive and social wallflower. Yup, I like to hang out, but I may be caught red-handed with a book if there’s a down moment at a party. Jus sayin’. However, I haven’t brought a book with me to a party in the last three months, but don’t hold me liable when I get my hands on Gaiman’s Trigger Warning
in February. I can’t make any promises. My books are
my friends. And Neil Gaiman has a hold on my soul that’s a little scary sometimes. I’ll get into that next week.
A few self-preservation ideas from a reclusive, social wall-flower:
1. GET INTO A BOOK
If it attracts you, pick it up. Books are like people, you can learn something from them. Whether what you learn is substantial or not is your choice. If you don’t like it, you’ll have a better idea of what resonates with your mind. A start is most important. I’ve had at least three conversations with friends and associates during which I’ve heard, “I don’t read much. It puts me to sleep when I read”, “Where do I start? You’re saying read more. But what should I read?”, “I like talking to people who read a lot. It expands my mind. But reading requires me to sit still for too long. I get bored and distracted”.
70 billion ways, people. 70 billion ways.
My response has and most likely always will be, there is no one way to read. There is no one thing to read about. With Kindle, iPad, audiobooks, GoodReads, eBooks, your local library, your friend’s or family member’s library, the options and avenues are endless when assessing your path to expanding your mind through reading. Instead of perusing your friend’s DVD collection, check out their bookshelf. From a stack of books on a milk-crate to a fully furnished library, just about every household has a collection of books. Ask your host if they’d mind recommending a book you could borrow. If that’s not possible, ask if there’s a book they’d recommend you buy and why. Start the discussion.
Every Saturday from the ages of 6-17 my Mom (May she continue to light the horizon) would take me to Border’s Bookshop (PLEASE BRING BACK BORDERS, OMG) where I would select the books that interested me and we’d sit at the bookstore from about 3:00 (she wasn’t a morning person) until closing. We’d make a day out of it, and she’d sit at the cafe while I bounced between the children’s chapter books and world cookbooks. I wanted to be a chef when I was 8. Looking back, I noticed something. What seemed as random tidbits I’d pick up from perusing the science, self-help, and young adult sections, were all parts of me I had come to shape overtime. Borders was the breeding ground for Becoming Kamila.
My philosophical guides ranged from The Berenstain Bears to Toni Morrison by the time I was twelve. I’d also fallen in love with Chris Rock’s written standup. Bigger and Blacker got me through puberty. Seriously, read standup. It’s the most profound and well-rounded literature, in my opinion. Its fluidity and rhythm make it a genius way to deliver the sometimes harsh truth. Ok, I’m getting off task, but this post wouldn’t be this post without those acknowledgements.
Sense there is no more Borders Bookshops to visit, I’d recommend local, boutique shops that carry indie authors, have a strong world literature section, and passionate, avid readers for staff. I dare not mention B&N. So I won’t. In all seriousness, reading has been fundamental to my development as a wanderlust. Not to mention having a wanderlust for a mother. She traveled extensively throughout my childhood, mostly during my preschool years and then began bringing me along for the ride/flight from the age of 11-21. She’d bring back trinkets and books from London, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Morocco, Australia and Senegal. I’d imagine myself in all these places and write my own on-location stories that I’d share with my father in my letters to him. Which brings me to my second method of survival; writing.
Writing is just as fundamental as reading when it comes to self-discovery and preservation. In some instances, I’d say it’s more important. It’s second in this list only because it is strengthened with reading. I’ve expanded my mind and outlook through just about every adversity or challenge by writing. For eight years, I kept an immaculate journal. All I felt and wanted was engraved on those pages. It served as a release for me during times I needed it the most. Naturally, everyone’s sense of expression transforms at one time or another and I began penning more fictional stories instead of diary entries. At twelve, I realized I had the power to create the world I wanted at the tip of my fingers. The more I created, the more I believed I could create; this is important in establishing goals and maintaining the confidence and character to sustain survival. I was in love with my soul. As I write this, I’m falling in love all over again.
Writing forces the intuitive person to come to analyze what they’re essentially reforming through their words. You don’t take it lightly. Even, well especially, in light humor, what’s written won’t be funny if it has no truthful basis. What’s plaguing you will become effectively clear if you choose to see it. That’s the light I’m talking about. All things come full circle. Your mind speaks loudest when you assess it to choose what you’d like to share from it. We all do this every single day that we communicate with others.
This post, for instance. I chose to share my musings after reading something inspirational on another site. I was compelled, after analyzing what was presented, to share. I’m free-writing this piece, with a few edits here and there, but I’m molding my perceptions into healthy ideas that will benefit myself and those depending on me through writing. Writing is the mind, documented. I can maintain resilience as long as I know where I’ve come from, where I am and want to be. This is the prototype for empowerment. Writers all over the world share their thoughts, voices, strengths, weaknesses, to be sources of light for those still yet to see their own.
Writing is the reminder that no matter what, you have power. There’s no right or wrong way to write, which is in itself, liberation. Societal, governmental, zealous oppression all diminish in the light that is resilience. Writing is my way of honing that resilience.
3. TRUST YOURSELF
This will be short as it is simple as hell; YOU CAN’T ACHIEVE ANYTHING IF YOU DON’T TRUST YOURSELF TO DO IT.
I say this because these are words I have engraved in my conscious. I’m going to say it again,
YOU CAN’T ACHIEVE ANYTHING IF YOU DON’T TRUST YOURSELF TO DO IT.
Mind without body is sufficient as it is spirit. Body without mind, is a zombie. Start, go, do! But please believe in you!
4. FORGIVE YOURSELF
This is absolutely connected to trusting yourself. There’s no better proponent for this whom I can think of than myself. I’ve disappointed myself and it has been a process forgiving myself. What’s affected by that you say? EVERYTHING. Especially, trusting yourself. We’ve all made choices we aren’t proud of, but in no way does the world stop spinning because of a heavy heart. Hell, the world is a heavy heart. Think about it… And while you’re atop this spinning heart, you have to survive. Trusting yourself is the key to doing it and doing it well. Forgiving yourself is the key to trusting yourself.
5. GO TO THE PLACES IN YOUR DREAMS.
…even the scary ones. You’ll definitely learn something about yourself. Find a way to get away. Travel is important in staying in touch with what’s real for you. How many times in a crazy dream has your conscious stopped and said, “Wait, I must be dreaming”? I can’t count how many times it’s happened to me. I was traveling to Ireland with my late mother in a recent dream I had. I knew it wasn’t possible in this realm but then I got to thinking: we’ve always talked about Amsterdam and Ireland. More-so Amsterdam, but I had no doubt her spirit was reminding me to make the trip. She’d be there with me. It’s on my bucket list. Ireland is a few notches above my travel budget, but I’ll see it in this realm one day. What’s unreal isn’t so unreal after all.
6. SHUT DOWN… BEFORE YOU HAVE TO
I placed this at the bottom of my list for good reason. It’s most important as I’ve experienced the consequences, firsthand. Start by taking a day each week to do something you like. As time passes, increase the frequency of that activity. If you take a 30 minute bath on every Friday night, next month make it 1 hour every Friday night. The month after that, add in Saturday or Sunday or both
nights for an hour. Shoot, if you’re really feeling yourself, try every
night for an hour. But don’t forsake partaking in this activity to join in someone else’s activities. Okay, your friend Sam has a party Friday night. Let Sam know you may be an hour late. Or take your bath an hour earlier. Don’t push your bath up to after the party, take that bath like you do every Friday night. Setting your concerns ahead of others’ is not a crime. It’s self-preservation. If you could somehow violate someone’s rights by doing so, then that is the instance you concede to prioritizing the needs of others over your own. If it’s not dishonorable, don’t be afraid to let others know you will address their needs after you address your own and if it is favorable for you to do so. I’ll leave with a thought my mother posed to me:
“If a plane is crashing and you are with your child, you first give yourself the oxygen mask and then give your child hers”,
said as we were preparing for emergency landing in Phoenix, AZ during a record-breaking monsoon, by the way.
Ha! Momi was a riot.