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About jjer94

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  1. facial armor. I learned recently that I smile too much. Yes, there is such thing. You ever meet those people who have a smile plastered on their face all the time when you talk to them? The people who laugh at all your jokes, even when they weren't that funny? It's like you're talking to a mask, because you don't even know the real person behind all of the endless smiling. (A good example on youtube is this girl.) I realize that I use smiling as a defense mechanism. I was rejected and ostracized so many times in the past that one of my ways to compensate was to be super nice and smile at people in conversation. Being a smiley, accommodating people-pleaser guaranteed that I'd have a lot of acquaintances and avoid ostracization...at the cost of having true friends and true connections. I became the one who was always lonely, even when I was well-liked by everyone. One of my intentions in this chapter is that "I want to be totally relaxed in conversation and exude the energy of 'I am worthy to listen to; my words matter; I am comfortable with myself,'" and part of being totally relaxed in conversation is being totally okay with not smiling all the time. With an exercise of awareness, I am learning to take off the facial armor, be vulnerable, and speak my truth, even if it's something the other person doesn't like. This intentional community is the perfect time and place to do it, since I won't be ostracized. I'm shocked at how automatic the smiling happens! Then again, it is a persona I've worn for more than a decade. Awareness in mid-conversation is the key. I'll chip away at that smile, day by day. (P.S. I saw this guy in concert recently. So much fun )
  2. Says who? I know the sentiment, too. The feeling that whatever you feel inclined to do would not be as impactful for raising consciousness as something more direct, such as Leo's content. It's a comparison mentality, which sits on top of shame - the feeling that you are inadequate in some way shape or form. Then the shame leads to soul-killing depression, because parts of yourself that want to be expressed are being de-pressed. Then life feels terribly empty and lonely. I used to feel the same way about music. I thought it was a shit field. I thought singer-songwriters were a joke, and I was among them - one of the least impactful group of people. But I realized that the most impact I could have on the world is to actualize myself, and if that means noodling around on guitar, then so be it. Creating for me is not an intention to change something; it's like taking a dump. Just something I do (preferably) every day, and if I hold it in for too long or tell myself it's not important enough, I get pretty damn uncomfortable. That's my take on all of this. Blessings to you, and keep writing. I like your style
  3. "Art is in essence a gift to the artist from spirit. The drive to share one's artwork with others is healthy and necessary. The gift must be given to the world. Sharing one's work completes the cycle of creative endeavor." -Alex Grey Be well
  4. i am a responsible human being. The cold woke me last night at three in the morning like a jester wanting to play. It tickled my neck and throat and beckoned me to get up. I grunted in frustration, as the wood burning stove beside me that was supposed to provide warmth had eaten all the wood and lost its heat. Like a boss, I unzipped the dinky sleeping bag and exposed my stark-naked body to the forty-degree-fahrenheit cold (yes, I sleep naked ; but soon I'll have to wear long johns). I stumbled in the dark to find wood, threw it into the stove, and watched as the match turned into an inferno. Ceremonial yodeling ensued. Most of the community members left a couple days ago for a month-long international trip, leaving me to single-handedly tend a house. The first night in the loft was so cold that I spent half the night writhing to generate heat. This was the second night, where I decided to cowboy camp next to the wood burning stove. As I stared into the flames and warmed my body in front of that stove, I had a simple epiphany: I am a responsible human being. Like, truly responsible for the first time in my life. No blaming, no co-dependence. Financial self-reliance. A well-rounded skillset. The ability to look after myself and tend to my needs without feeling overly limited or constrained. The ability to let go of a friend out of respect for her journey. And the grit to light a fire stark naked in an abandoned house at (now) four in the morning, without complaint. Getting to this point has required a tremendous amount of surrender. Surrendering to life is not glamorous most of the time, but it's entirely necessary for everyone - whether they do it in this lifetime or the next. In the end, it's so worthwhile, because that's where the true soul growth occurs. Surrender is the bridge to alignment - that feeling that Life, the Universe, Whatever, is pushing you along some invisible rainbow road, and all you have to do is surrender some more and enjoy the ride. After my simple epiphany, I peed in my pee jar, crawled back into the oven of my sleeping bag, and let the whispy sound of the flames lull me back to sleep.
  5. last dance with mary jane. I disintegrated last night. I didn't expect Mary Jane to have such an impact on me, but she did - probably because I haven't convened with her in over a year. I was out of town the past couple days to see a concert with my brother. When we got back from the concert, I figured why not give the ol' reefer a go since it's here. A few puffs later, and my sense of self unraveled like a ball of yarn. I closed my eyes and entered another dimension where I was beautiful fractals and sacred designs over a blank canvas of nothingness. Totally malleable, yet totally solid Being. Insights downloaded left and right, but I had difficulty encapsulating them into words. Here was my attempt: You don’t have to look for it. You only need to let go of yourself enough that you disintegrate, and what’s left is pure being. Being is dynamic. It is always moving, but also incredibly still. Like a silent abandoned movie theatre. Kind of boring to not react to stuff [in life] because you know it’s a movie. More fun to play the role and be immersed. It was never serious. Death is only the washing away of paint on a board that doesn’t break, ever. Beyond death is an endless safety net. The beauty of total Presence in the Timeless realm was overwhelming. I appreciated every spontaneous fractal and every new idea. I witnessed my eternal Aloneness and was okay with it. I witnessed my half-dead ego in its perfection - all of the little sensations and energy signatures that make up the unit called "JJ." So convincingly real it's hilarious, yet when you see its flimsiness you can't help but laugh at it. Synesthesia was apparent as well. Musical sounds became wavy visions, which blended into textures. I realized they're all the same thing - awareness. Crazy-ass awareness doing its dance of formless form. Then I returned to the third dimension and conked out. I'm excited to integrate and embody these insights through the coming years. This experience goes to show that even marijuana can be used constructively when the intentions are pure.
  6. losing the hay in the needlestack. This was a challenging week. Liver detox, cold weather, grief, triggers from community members...and girl stuff. I know everyone wants to hear about girl stuff. A few days ago, I lost a good friend. For now. Or forever. Remember that married girl I mentioned in a previous post? Over the past few months, we grew closer. She became attracted to me, and I only became more attracted to her. Right off the bat, I expressed my feelings to her so that I wouldn't be that creepy third-wheeler friend, and she told me that we can still be friends - that it's possible to be attracted to someone and not act on it. I agreed with her... up to this point. I felt like she was pulling on my heart-string, but we had a brick wall between us, and while she kept pulling, I kept smashing my head on that wall. The relationship only became more painful as time passed. It reached a crescendo a few days ago. I manned up and held nothing back. I told her that I couldn't be friends anymore. I told her that I couldn't be that supportive bystander while I simultaneously daydreamed about fucking her. I told her how hot she looked that one night I saw her. I told her that I felt uncomfortable around her and her husband together. I told her that I didn't want to be "that guy" that gets between them. And I told her that the most respectful thing I could do at this time is to keep my distance. She respected my decision, and that was that. What a gal. She taught me gratitude, karma yoga, and confidence. She introduced me to amazing people and was the one who convinced me to join this intentional community. Her energy is amazing. Words cannot describe the frustration and grief I feel over losing someone like that in a rural area full of country bumpkins. It's like losing the hay in the needlestack. Part of me feels back at square one, but the rest of me feels empowered. If I can sit through these heavy feelings like a true emotional warrior, I feel like I can sit through anything. And if I feel like I can sit through anything, I can do whatever I need to do to actualize myself.
  7. Notice how you're looking for outer solutions to an inward issue. You're asking us how to change for your sort-of-unsupportive friend so that you won't have to feel the unpleasant feelings that came up in that moment your friend insulted you. In this case, it's a feeling of shame - otherwise, you wouldn't be comparing yourself with others, looking for results that "show," telling your friend what he's "supposed to do," trying to become a "respected person," wondering if you're lazy, or thinking that you're somehow doing the "wrong" things. Life is hell when you feel ashamed of yourself. It's a constant game of efforting, of comparison, of never being good enough for your own standards, and perhaps of feeling suicidal. Life just feels so damn rigid, and all the mantras and self-help exercises in the world don't seem to help. What will help is to cut yourself some slack. You're 20. Slow down; this ain't a race unless your mind makes it one. You're at a prime age to start working through all of this emotional stuff, and you're blessed to have found the field of self-mastery/self-healing when you did. Most people find it halfway through raising a family, stuck in a dead-end job they hate - and that's when things can get messy. But you have no circumstantial ties like that. What will help is to feel your feelings as they arise - no matter how uncomfortable they are. Reality is your mirror. Every outside trigger is a gift in disguise that encourages awareness and shows you what you need to release within yourself in order to expand your consciousness. Be gentle with yourself, and enjoy the challenging journey. Your determination will serve you well. Blessings sent your way <3
  8. the doormat deception loosens its stranglehold. As a recovering doormat, saying "no" to people is one of the most difficult things for me. I grew up with the programming that my needs and my boundaries don't matter; that I am inadequate; and that any attention is good attention. Of course, that attracted all sorts of energy vampires from hidden alleyways that wouldn't leave me alone. At first, a friendship with said vampire was lovely: in exchange for my listening to them, they would give me the feeling that I mattered at least somewhat to have a friend (otherwise I'd be friend-less and have to face my deep feelings of shame and abandonment). Then some time would pass and they would suck enough blood for me to notice. The relationship would become totally one-sided. They would cling onto me like I was their lifeline, and I would continue to give give give and repress my frustration. At some point, the inner volcano would erupt, and I would leave the friendship with passive-aggressiveness - usually, I would stop responding to their calls and texts. I would loathe the fact that I didn't speak my truth to them, I would exacerbate my shame, and the cycle would continue with the next energy vampire. Awareness of this pattern took me several years in the school of hard knocks, and changing the pattern may take longer - but I'm doing it. I did it a couple weeks ago with one of my fellow community members here. He was the energetic equivalent of my friend from first grade, and I could sense that the karmic cycle would continue unless I did something about it. So I set a boundary. The following day, he was incapacitated and grieving all day. A meeting with him the next morning revealed that my "rejection" had stirred up grief regarding some losses in his family. So by speaking my truth, I may have potentially helped him on his own healing journey. That's not all, though. I went even further that morning and spoke my truth with no euphemisms whatsoever. I told him that the energy he gives off is predatory and needy, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I shocked myself when I said that. Whoa. Where did this newfound self-respect come from? Regardless, this is a huge leap for me. The Doormat Deception is beginning to loosen its stranglehold on my psyche. Even so, I do feel compassion for the guy, because I've been in his situation more than a handful of times, especially as of late with the married girl. I know, it hurts. But I'm not going to allow yet another energy vampire suck my blood.
  9. Hang in there phoenix, and as always, you will rise from the ashes. Much love.
  10. The gas station guy's life-saving bathroom. After yet another successful workshop with the sage woman, I drove downtown and walked the slightly snowy streets. A bookstore was beckoning my attention, so I went inside and perused the aisles. That's when nature decided to scream at me from my bowels. Because women surrounded me at the workshop (as is common in most alternative healing meet-ups ), I held in the hot air balloon of sulfury gas that I was accumulating all morning. It wasn't just gas, though; something leviathan was lurking in the mysterious depths of my colon. I speed-walked to the front desk and asked if they had a restroom. Nope. I immediately rushed out of there and went next door to the clothing store. I asked the woman with twenty pounds of make-up if they had a restroom. Only for employees, she replied. The closest restroom is on the corner of the street next to the highway. So I proceeded to walk through the (fortunately) butt-clenching cold to search for the long-lost restroom. I couldn't find it. Shit! I thought. Definitely the proper thought to have, in more than one way. I rushed my skinny legs further down the street and stumbled upon a gas station. Walking inside, I asked the employee if they had a restroom. Yes, but for customers only, he replied. But you can go to the bathroom first. You've got to be kidding me, I thought. Well, at least he's letting me go right away. That bathroom was the cleanest gas station bathroom I've ever been. And that dump...ohhhh man, that dump was the cleanest dirtiest dump I've ever taken. The Ouroboros himself left my colon, and a wave of satisfaction flooded my body, almost like post-orgasm. I left that bathroom with a stride of pride, bought some toilet paper, and talked to the guy up front. I think your bathroom may have saved my life, I told him (No joke, that's exactly what I said, word-for-word). He smirked. After a few miscellaneous words, I asked him, does winter always come this early? He replied, Yep. I remember when I was little, I would wear my winter gear under my halloween costume. I've had a lot of experience with this weather, living here my whole life. I left the gas station and proceeded to walk back to the sushi place, which was my original destination. I looked at the sunset and thought about the gas station guy. There's a guy who's spent his entire life in a bubble of a couple thousand people, probably never been outside of the state, probably goes home after work and eats doritos and whacks it to midget porn. With the right book, or the right Actualized.org video, or a little exposure to death, or just a little travel, he could experience a completely new perspective on life that would expand his experience and make life richer for him. But alas, his life is his life, and he's going to spend the rest of it at that gas station in this small town in which he was raised. The reason I share these seemingly unnecessary elaborate details about the time after my workshop and not the workshop itself, is because they are benchmarkers. A year ago, I would not have been able to take a dump in that gas station - not just because of chronic constipation but also the emotional component of the world feeling unsafe and dirty. Not only is the constipation 90% gone, but the world feels more and more like my oyster. Then there's the gas station guy. A year ago, I would have judged him. I would have thought how much of a loser he is, how much he needs to change, how I could help him, and on and on and on. But today, I just had a normal conversation with a perfectly okay human being on a cold autumn evening. I stared his dorito-encrusted, midget-porned divinity straight in the face and honored it as I honor my own divinity. I loved him as he is, and I had fun wondering about his life and his unique, possibly limited perspective. Nowadays I truly honor the Vampire's Code. There's no reason to shake anyone's world, unless they explicitly ask for it. My need to ruffle feathers in an attempt to fuel spiritual superiority and further separation is gone. The only time I'd ever ruffle feathers now is if I were hugging someone wearing a Tyler Durden feather coat. I'm so happy, even in moments when I'm not. I've come a long way.
  11. the mysterious case of the unsnappable rubberband. I like to think of authentic desire as a rubberband. A massive, unsnappable rubber band. The further you get away from an authentic desire, the more tension and discomfort you feel, and the more you're drawn back to it. I suspect most people live their entire lives in tension with their authentic desires, due to outside influences and programming. I was (and still am) one of them - and let me tell you, that's what hell is. Hell is the willful resistance not just to "what is," but to "what is in your soul." The soul has its own innate, inexplicable drive to do stuff for no rational reasons, and it's our choice to go with that drive or against that drive. Going with the drive risks the loss of everything but guarantees the gain of your soul - a worthwhile trade, in my opinion. On the contrary, going against the drive guarantees some safety and some momentary bouts of pleasure, but it risks the loss of your soul and a life spent in constant tension with that unsnappable rubber band. Fortunately for most people, the tension can get so bad that they have no choice but to "snap back" to their authentic desires. As I continue to uncover my authentic self, I notice that I keep "snapping back" to music. No matter how many times I try to quit, my urge to play guitar and write songs is almost like an urge to poop. It feels totally necessary, even though I'm not taking it seriously. So I keep doing it, and the more I do it, the more I realize how full I feel when I do it. I even notice my appetite for food goes away after playing, because I'm feeding the body what it truly wants - soul food. Once again, I find myself at that crossroads between many fields: alternative healing, diet/lifestyle, music, writing. How do they all fit together? Can they? Am I inventing a puzzle where there is none? I suppose the unsnappable rubberband will let me know as time goes on.
  12. everything is for rent. Everything is for rent. Your clothes, your boots, your motorcycle. The physical, the mental, and even the spiritual. The cost of rent is your gradual unfoldment into peace and joy. Failure to pay the rent results in suffering and toil. Failure to respect the landlord results in a karmic snake coil. And pretending to own leads to eviction from the premises. Best to avoid getting sued by accepting that everything is for rent, dude. Silver and gold Precious stones, so I’m told Ah, we’re clutching, but there ain’t nothing we can hold
  13. a date with myself. Hot diggity dayum! I've been around the block lately. Between living it up in this community, working on the certificate, songwriting, spiritual practice, book editing for the community leader, and trips to the parents' place, my schedule feels almost as jam-packed as...well...jam! Then there was the four-day canoe immersion trip this past weekend, which involved primitive camping and firemaking. Four days is the longest time I've ever camped, and it's also the longest time I've spent in cold, muggy weather. The first two days were wintery. Because my body hasn't adjusted yet to colder temperatures, I was chilled to the bone. The difference between this kind of cold exposure and cold showers is that the former is nonstop. Unless you make a fire or move around a bit, the cold can become a serious issue. Of course, even worse was the third and final days, where it also rained nonstop. Water leaked through the top of my tent and pooled below the sleeping bag. But that was not the most uncomfortable part. The most uncomfortable part was being fully with myself - no distractions whatsoever. Not even the option. Overall, an epic trip, and definitely a powerful practice for personal growth that adds the often overlooked raw physical element. I wrote endlessly in a scrappy-ass journal, especially on the third day. Here's some juicy tidbits:
  14. Chapter 1: Chapter 2: Chapter 3: a journey to anywhere. Chapter 4. Just when I thought that I passed the spiritual threshold - that this whole enlightenment journey would be a breeze from here onwards... Oh boy was I wrong. I was so, so wrong. Reality tends to forcefeed humility to those on the spiritual diet, and I'm nearly choking on it. Every single day, I am humbled to the utmost degree at the sheer beauty and complexity of this world. From the wild-foraged coral tooth mushrooms to the quirky humans stuck in psychological homeostasis, this infinite place has an infinite number of things to learn. Every time I think I know something for certain, Reality says, "Nuh-uh, JJ. Here, let me show you that the opposite is just as true." And then I'm like, "Well...shit." A week ago, I moved to my Elsewhere - an intentional community that's also an outdoor school. Even in a week, I have learned so much about communal living and so much about myself. In particular, I never realized how selfish I am. Helping the people around me, giving without receiving, doing mindless chores - all of these have pushed my ego buttons. Ego wants to have it like before: self-indulging in psychoanalytical woe-is-me bullshit, receiving without giving, and being lazy. But now, I'm too busy to think too much about myself. I'm thinking about how I can serve others. And whattya know - I definitely feel happier than I did at my parents'. As an INFP, I struggle with concrete goal setting, so I aim for ideals. I wrote down a few in my journal a couple days ago, so I'll paste them here. Here's what I want to learn in my time at this community: I want to be totally relaxed in conversation and exude the energy of "I am worthy to listen to; my words matter; I am comfortable with myself." Right now, I am not totally relaxed in conversation, and I exude the energy of "I am unworthy to listen to; my words don't matter; ignore me." I want to be flexible with requests from community members. Instead of internally groaning whenever someone asks a favor, I want to be willing and receptive to help. I want to learn how to establish boundaries. To say 'no,' to redirect, to stand up for myself in a respectful way that benefits everyone. I have the habit of being a doormat. I want to have some sense of humor, to be able to react quickly with humor in a conversation. That means practicing "yes and", caricatures, and the fake-out. I'm normally a pretty dull conversationalist. I interview more than I converse. Finish the health coaching certificate. Work at a wellness center in town. Work with clients that I resonate with. Something I haven't talked about yet: I've been working on an online certificate for the past several months. Deepen my friendships with two people in particular. Deepen my relationship with the leader of the community. Have some of his zen rub off on me. Learn his ways. Banish epstein-barr and strep from my system using the Medical Medium heavy metal detox protocol. Clear skin, clear hearing, clear thinking. I've cut my animal protein consumption in half and doubled my fruit and vegetable intake. I feel a lot better. Write one song per week, keep learning covers. Keep writing on the forum. I feel more aligned than ever, but I still have no idea what my purpose is. So I'll just keep on chuggin' along and follow the bread-crumb trail of the Universe. I'll voluntarily continue this process of self-uncovery and surrender. I'll take this journey to Anywhere.
  15. elsewhere: a retrospective. I have finally made it to Elsewhere. Tomorrow, I will move out of my parent's place and into an intentional community focused on personal growth and connecting with nature. What will I discover? Who will I meet? What treasures will I unearth along the way? Tune in next week to find out! Jokes aside, this has been a hell of a year, both literally and figuratively. Let's copy/paste the bullet points from my first post on this topic and see what I have accomplished thus far (comments on each point in red): Issues: Chronically low self-esteem. I spent most of my young adult life being bullied and sucking up to others. Now I subconsciously believe I'm unworthy. I also believe that I don't deserve to get what I want. Hence the spiritual ego, hence the desire for purity in mind, body, and spirit. Spiritual ego is pretty much gone, but the feelings of unworthiness are still sneaking around. Chronic social anxiety. I'm years behind in my social skills. I notice my subtle body contracts whenever I'm around people. I feel like I'm being judged all the time. Much, much better. I'm finally "catching up." Knee-jerk depression. It's 50% gone since I re-introduced meat back into the diet, but I still have some lows here and there. All gone. Being an INFJ and HSP, especially in a society that wants everything opposite to my personality. I judge myself harshly and beat myself up for not being like everyone else. Not anymore. I'm okay with being weird. ADHD. Again, tweaking the diet's helped a ton with this. Almost completely gone. Supporting myself financially. Uhhhh, what's a jorb? Still working on this one. I'm working towards a couple certificates that will potentially help me pay bills in the future. More on that in another post. Body tensions. Improved a lot since starting hatha yoga, but still terrible posture, back pain, and psychosomatic issues. Posture is noticeably better. Back pain is still there, but much more bearable. Foam rolling and massage balls at night are helping, too. I don't know how to be a friend. No, seriously. I have acquaintances, but virtually no friends. I don't reach out to people, not even my brother. I don't know how. I've been reaching out to people over the past few months, although I don't usually notice it when I do it. This will improve in the coming months. Sexual repression. Likely due to past heartbreaks and weird Freudian shit in childhood. Still repressed, but much more acceptance of my sexual quirks. Living in a town surrounded by old retirees as a twenty-something. I've met other twenty-somethings and like-minded people that meet my needs. Desires: I want to feel comfortable in my own skin. I want to love myself as I am. Definitely feel more comfortable in my skin. Still working on the self-love thing. I'd say 40% improvement in this realm. I want to be comfortable around everyone. I want to be as open as possible. 30% improvement. I want to serve others. Will soon get a certificate that involves serving others. I want to feel joy again. Done. I want to find my place. I found a place. Just not sure if it's my place. I want to be able to commit to things and focus without abandoning ship at any sign of failure. 15% improvement. Needs work. I want to choose what I watch on Youtube instead of the other way around. 65% improvement. MUCH better. I don't get lost in the youtube clickbait as much as I used to. In the meantime, I'd like to have an enjoyable day job that doesn't sap my energy, so I can support myself. Sort of done. Again, those certificates will help me in the near future. I'd like to feel like I'm actually in my body and not feel like an alien. Nope, still an alien. But definitely more in my body. Having a friend scares me and feels too labor-intensive, but I think it would be nice to try. I have a friend now! I'd like to try dating again at some point. Needs work. I want to live on my own again. Done. Phew. Another chapter of my life - done. I'm really leaving the nest this time. I'm a smorgasbord of excited, terrified, nervous, surrendered, incapable, and capable. On the edge of a diving board, waiting to jump into the chrome ooze from Super Mario 64, totally clueless of the outcome. We'll jump, and we'll see. That's life, right?