Know Thyself – Or Maybe I Don’t

One thing I’ve always tried my best at is to know how I will react when faced with a particular situation. I’d imagine myself being the talkative drunk, or that blank situation is where I’ll be silent until some outside force compels me to speak, and so on.

But time and time again, I’ve found myself surprized at my own reactions, lately. And it’s got me thinking, “Maybe I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did.”

I mean, I often imagine and have prayed for courage and when I had that Presence about me, I was scared, genuinely, to the point where, I switched from praying the Rosary to praying a normal prayer, just so that I wouldn’t feel that pass by me.

Branching off of that, I never imagined myself having the Faith, but not believing in it. All these years and I’m just saying the words, rote and completely hollow. I know this to be true, because I should’ve remembered that God is with me, especially when I’m scared, so when I was fearful of the Presence, I didn’t let God take control, nor did I ask him for courage or strength during this time. All I did was tell myself that I wasn’t afraid.

Taking it one step further, I asked myself, “How is it possible to feel fear and lose to it?” and thoughts of V for Vendetta came to mind, “There is more than flesh beneath this mask, there’s an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof!”

And it hit me. I felt fear, lost, weak, all because of the simple fact that at my center I didn’t really have one singular idea or concept to set as my core. I’ve written my own manifesto, and I have ideals and morals that I uphold, but to have one stand above all else, a Motto, so to speak, this is what I was lacking, something intangible, that I would risk everything to uphold.

Various resources often tell me that my best phrase is “I am” so this is something that must remain ‘ahead’ of that phrase, so I chose something that doesn’t start with “I am”.

I was never given the gift of paranormal sight from God, and I’m perfectly fine without it, quite honestly, I’d probably scream like a 5-year-old girl should I have the ability to actually see the Presence that haunted me for a time, and to truthfully write that, is a sad thing in of itself. So I blending a mixture of my beliefs and values to make this idea:

“To see the face of God.”

This is perfect for someone like me, because it’ll resonate with me on various levels:

  • Should I be faced with a life-or-death situation, I’ll remember to be good until the last moment
  • Should someone need help, to any degree, I’ll offer what I can, due to the fact that by helping them, I’m helping Christ, in Christ’s name
  • It’ll remind me to stay strong in the face of various temptations, fear, anger, lust, and so on, because if I give in, then I won’t see God’s Face
  • As of this moment, I don’t have the ability to see God’s Face whenever I pray, so it’s a goal to aim for, even if I never achieve it, but I don’t plan on to, I just plan on keep going forward

So this will be my Center. A rhetorical idea that cannot be altered due to it’s unending nature… Almost like a labrynth, yet, it holds true to what I hold dear to my heart.

So now all that’s left is to make sure this idea, this concept to life, is burned into my thoughts, and becomes the center of my being, my flame.

For God, for my family and friends, and for myself.

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Smiling at Death

Memento Mori, Bushido, Y.O.L.O.

It seems that every generation has their own reminder that Death is near by and that something must be done. Personally, I think that the last one was used purely for the sake of doing stupid things.

In either case, there is truth in all of these, “Death is always around.” But what is often mistaken is how this should be taken, some people see this as an excuse to live life without consequences, others that one should plan for as many occasions as possible; but for me, I’ve heard both extremes and from that I’ve found a balance between the pros and cons of both.

Honor.

It’s a bit old-fashioned, but I believe that if one lives honorably, they retain the “no regrets” aspect without perverting it beyond a point, as well as the “be prepared” aspect that the other extreme favors.

I mean think about it, I can live and have fun, but not bang any girl simply for the sake of hooking up, I can train my body and save my money for a rainy day without being scared of every single possible outcome and have days where I can relax as well.

To have honor to me, means to hold yourself to a particular standard, so long as you meet those standards, on any level of your life, then you can honestly say, “I have no regrets.” Even if you just died then and there, that standard helps keep you in check, on any point in your life, even if you’re in the middle of transitions, which is basically more often than not.

Imagine the self that you want to be: courageous, smart, likable, healthy, witty, tough, always says the right thing at the right time, and so on. This is the standard that you have to hold yourself to.

This is who you want to be, but that you aren’t right now, for X reasons, and that’s normal, but that’s the thing, if you say, “I’m not this and this is normal.” You’ve shut yourself down, then and there. You need to say, “I’m not this but I’d like to be.” this is the norm. It should be normal to attempt to make little changes to your current character in order to resemble your standard character. It’s amazing to think that nearly any aspect that one desires can be obtained if they simply worked hard enough for it.

For me, I want to live without any regrets, hence the Bank girl, I don’t want to look back and say, “If only I had asked her out, If this, If that, etc” I’d rather ask her out, be rejected, and then move on. So for me, at this point in time, I need ask this girl out, not for some depressing emotion or for some societal obligation, but because in order for me to remain honorable to myself, in order for me to continue to say, “I have no regrets”; this is what I must do.

Granted, my life isn’t hanging on the response this girl gives me, but if I have little regrets here and there, then I’ll eventually have huge regrets later on. If I chicken out at this small incident, then it’s no wonder why I would chicken out at something major, like that accident that happened right before me. I need to test my courage by actually doing something that scares me, in this case, the only two endings this could have are:

  1. She says, “Yes”
  2. She says, “No”

So what is there to fear? Death.

If I don’t live the life in the way that I would want to live it, then I’m scared of Death, because of business left undone and things left unsaid, which are basically Regrets.

In order to not be scared of Death, but in fact smile at Death, I need to live without fear, without hesitation, and ultimately without regrets. Because if I have done this, what is there to fear? I’ve done all that I wanted to do, and I did it by what I thought was right. There would be no reason for me to be ashamed in front of my family, my friends and even God.

And that’s the whole point of this, God didn’t give us Death to scare us, we gave it to ourselves. It came with the knowledge of what is Right and what is Wrong. Being scared of something and not facing, it is simply the wrong way to approach it, you’ve abandoned your goals, and you’ve let the fear control you, and eventually you’ll live Life the wrong way.

It’s only when you’re scared of something and then you face it, does it become a good thing to be scared, to face it, and to live Life the right way.

“I knew a man who once said, ‘Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back.'” – Maximus Decimus Meridius (Gladiator)

20 Seconds of Courage

Today was a random day, with the usual running around but when I got to the bank, I was greeted with the teller who was rather friendly, and recognized me despite the fact that I hadn’t seen her in quite a while.

My sister at the end of the day gave me looks, almost as if saying, ‘Are you kidding me? You didn’t see that?’ Apparently not only am I rather dense to subtle hints, but the attractive teller seemed interested in me. I must admit that she’s rather easy to talk to and is kinda cute, but I hesitated and blushed at the suggestion to flirt with her and ask her out… Heh, I’ve no idea why.

So, one thing in life is to live without regrets, to not let any opportunity slip through one’s fingers and with that, I am going to ask this girl out the next time I see her. I’ll be nervous and studdering, because that’s just how idiotic my mind and body react with the idea of a potential girlfriend comes to mind. I’ve been told that I’m not unattractive, and to have been recognized after an absence, is something to be noted.

Heh heh, Well, why not? Life is about taking risks and doing what scares you, well, this idea scares me and I will man up and tell her that I’m interested in knowing her more! For 20 seconds that will last as long as 20 infinities, I will know no fear.

I mean, really, I’m the manifestation of a bloodline of guys that have been able to successfully talk to women and go out on dates and eventually marry them, why should I break that chain?

20 seconds of courage, that’s all it takes.

Priorities

It’s 1:12 AM and I’ve discovered that for quite possibly the past hour or so, I’ve been wasting my time on the internet. I’m going to teach myself to manage my time more efficiently and be more productive.

Also Siry made me a Loom Bracelet, basically it’s small rubber bands tied together, it’s a bit girly, but it’s a gift from her, so like everything else she has given me, I will treasure it dearly.

I’ve been meaning to confess something.

I usually get somewhat “concerned” whenever I read scary stories, mainly based on real experiences other people have, it doesn’t even have to be long, but for some reason there’s a sudden stab of fear that causes my heart to beat just a bit harder, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why this always happens, it doesn’t matter of it’s a scary picture or a sentence, just the mere mention of ghosts or evil spirits and I get the idea that somehow by reading someone else’s story has caused some gateway to open in my life where the worst possible poltergeist can enter.

Fear comes from uncertainty, but that’s the funny part, after this sense of fear has entered my mind, any slight sound or noise grabs my attention, a small crinkle of paper and my attention darts towards its origin. It’s not only embarrassing, but disappointing. “In God’s perfect Love, there is no room for Fear” This passage from the Bible has always provided the comfort to rid my mind of this childish fear, but just the fact that it gets to me in the first place is where my frustration lies.

I don’t know, maybe I’m still a kid at heart and so I’ve discovered the bad side of that statement. In either case, I’m taking this as a sign that I’m still not putting my faith into my beliefs, which means that there’s still something I’m doing wrong… or maybe not doing something… I think, it’s something related to not actively showing my faith to those around me in public… I should smile and let God take control of my life at all times. After all, I’m human and am completely flawed, I’m an adult who gets scared from ghost stories, for Heaven’s sake! I’m laughing at myself as I’m typing this, this is just ridiculous, who am I to say that I’m in control of anything in this life? I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and that’ll be the end of it.

Kinda grim, I know, but still, the point remains. I need to reflect my religion into my mannerisms, not show it off, but to prove to myself and everyone around me, how much it truly is a part of my every day life… Which is pretty much every part of my life. So, whatever comes my way, I know it’s a gift from God!

Random Quote #127:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference -Reinhold Niebuhr

Safe on the sidelines

Yesterday, I was driving and for a reason still unknown, I choose to stay behind an unusually slow car. Other cars behind me choose to pass both of us up, particularly a black truck, which now switched to be in front of both the slow blue car and myself; the three of us stopped at a red light, going to make a left turn. The light turned green for us to go, the black truck begins to move forward and suddenly… CRASH!

In what seemed like a blink of an eye, a white truck runs the stop light and crashes into the black truck, slamming into it so hard, it pushed the black truck into the middle of the intersection.

The cars began moving turning to continue upon their original destinations… I immediately scanned the drivers… But I didn’t stop.

I kept on going, I didn’t make a single effort to get out of my vehicle to help them… ‘I called 911, at least.’ I tell myself as I kept going, but the truth is, as shaken up as I was at the thought that, it could’ve been me, I was more shocked at the fact that I didn’t make an effort to help them or check on them, or something!

It was even asked of me, “Did You go out and help them?” But I said, “No.” And provided some ridiculous excuse as to why I did not help someone who was in of dire need.

What happened to me? What have I become? I used to be the one who moved immediately into the aid of others, and now I’ve become a frightful child, scared to get my hands dirty. I feel like punching myself for it…

I read from AoM.com about the wolves, sheep and sheepdogs, we metaphorically manifest into, in our lives, and I’ve done nothing but manifest into a coward.

Even at this moment I’m asking myself why I didn’t go out there, and I’ve got no answer. Why I didn’t try to help someone, why I didn’t try something! I merely stayed on the side where it was safe and called 911.

As I was traveling back, I had to go see the aftermath, and I was relieved to see the the road was blocked off and that there were paramedics doing their job, to see that someone was helping them, rather than watching it and simply moving on, like I did.

If I’m truly going to help people, I better grow some backbone beforehand.

A Division Diverted

It was a small favor… no it wasn’t, It was a large mistake. She was scared of so many things, that Greg and JP would be kicked out, that corruption would take the heart, and that all of this pain and suffering would be in vain, and life and dreams would be ruined.

She wanted me to accept her proposition and sacrifice myself, for her fear whispers things in her mind. To my regret, I accepted it, thinking that with my sacrifice, I would be the best candidate for the least amount of damage that this would do. Then she looked at my saddened face, for I knew what this proposition was going to do for the entire family, and she got sad, she hated seeing me sad. After a few hours, I went back to her and told her how to explain it so that it can reduce the damage even more, but still, my heart was heavy and I couldn’t shake this feeling of this mistake.

The next day, we were eating breakfast, and she asked me what was on my mind, because she can still see sorrow in my face, despite my best efforts; I questioned her fears, I questioned her nightmares, and I questioned her proposition, and to my discovery, it was all irrational.

Her fears have already been addressed and reassured, and are now nothing to be afraid of. The nightmare that constantly haunts her will never come to pass, and all of her pain and suffering will be rewarded. My sacrifice was no longer needed, and she thanked me for comforting her.

Man, that was something else! It took me a while day to actually process it in my own mind, but I actually helped the family avoid a problem that would cause it to be separated, this would’ve left a scar of unimaginable proportions!

Now my conscious is getting at me for not fixing this in the first place, but I’m relieved now. I need to learn to think about WHY people are doing these things before I start agreeing to these things. Her fears are valid, true, but the problem is that she’s forgotten everything that’s happened, and have allowed herself to be consumed by said fears, and me, simply agreeing to being part of the cause of a divided house, I’m an idiot!

Luckily, things didn’t happen that way and now, this near-division is only between her and I. I know now, that I have to be careful to what I agree to, to not be persuaded by the fears of others, and to remember what has happened to calm those fears. It’s like remembering why I want to be a doctor, My experiences speaks volumes, all I need to do is remember those times and all my fears will be put to rest.

“Fear Profits Man Nothing”

This is a quote from the movie The Thirteenth Warrior, one of my favorite movies, old now by today’s standard. It’s stars Antonio Banderas as an Arab Poet who’s banished to the Northern parts of the world and comes across Norsemen, and according to the Oracle, when a messenger from a far off land, requests some help, 13 warriors are chosen, 12 are Norsemen, and the 13th is supposed to be one that is not a Norseman, hence Antonio Banderas, was reluctantly recruited. Throughout the movie he’s tested, cultured, and eventually leaves the Norsemen. The bonds, scars, and wisdom he’s learned from a very simple people, according to him, change him into a better man.

One of the things I love about the culture of the Norseman, is the simplicity of their philosophy: A man scared is no man, your fate’s already determined, might as well face life head on! For one’s honor, for one’s name, for one’s family, for the sake that a death in battle leads to a Heaven that only the brave can enter in, and meet with one’s ancestors.

But when translated to a more modern setting, it’d become: Why be scared of Life? It’s full of many wondrous things, even Death can be wondrous, hesitation and fear does nothing in changing your destiny, Bravery and dying in battle is rewarded, Life is something meant to be enjoyed to the fullest, because in the end, being scared isn’t going to change a damn thing.

So they laugh out loud, they eat what they want, they drink and fight and love and life. In a sense, they’re very honest, direct people, maybe not the most tactful of people but once you’re one of them, you’re practically family.

So why isn’t that practiced today? This particular philosophy is within many cultures, not just the Norsemen, it’s even in my own.

I guess, it can only be acquired individually, just as fear grasps the hearts of each man, a charismatic point of view to life must be learned on one’s own terms. Granted, changing one’s life’s perspective isn’t as easy as it sounds, ha ha, but with practice and experience, you can change the very parameters of your reality. By staying up 5 minutes more than usual, you can make an Early Bird into a Night Owl; you can make a 300 pound man into one of the world’s strongest men with small changes; You can make the most adamant atheist into the most religious individuals with a passage from a book.

But one thing that must be considered is: Are you afraid?

If you are scared of change, you’ll find ways not to. If you’re scared of falling into traditions, you’ll try anything that’s new. But fear is a natural emotion, yet how can it rule over our lives so much? Granted, fear can save one’s life, so it’s a vital emotion, but I believe it’s never meant to be a hindrance, no, long ago I learned what fear really does.

Fear widens the eyes, quickens the breath, heightens the hearing, increases the bloodflow, speeds up the thinking processes, and puts you in a fight-or-flight state of mind. Meaning, that you can run and flee for your life, finding the quickest route out of danger and into safety…

Or you can fight.

With all your senses heightened, you can prove to be a lethal weapon. You can face all the monsters of this world and the next, if you would just stand your ground. The idea that being scared doesn’t do anything for you in given situations, that there will be times when you need to grit your teeth. To take that step forward, to speak a word to that one individual that makes you freeze in your tracks, to stand up when all others have sat down. All these require efforts in the mastering of fear, not in the absence of it.

So when the situation calls for it, you have two choices:

You can run or…

You can Fight.