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Friday, October 2, 2015

Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

Unfortunately I'm turning forty so I had to change my blog site: The new site is:

Click here to go to Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

the URL is fortysomethingnina.com

Thanks for understanding!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cars, Trumpets, T.V.'s Oh My!---Repost

Our old Zenith T.V. with my trumpet on top...



I did some stupid things as a kid.  Like one time while at a red light my mom was driving and listening to music.  While she wasn’t looking I may or may not have moved the gear into reverse.  When the light turned green, we started moving backwards.  We didn’t thankfully bang into the car behind us but for some reason my mother started freaking out!  She fortunately moved the gear in time to save our lives.  Later that night she told my father and it was one of the few times I got spanked. 

The real problem I had with the situation was that I was never told:  Don’t randomly put the car in reverse! I did a horrible and terrible thing, but I had no idea what I was doing.  I was just messing around.  I to this day protest that spanking!

Of course later, when I learned how to drive I may have repeated my mistake.  The third time I went on the highway with my family and a family friend I may or may not have reversed on an exit ramp because it was the wrong exit.  I mean in my defense, as everyone in the car started screaming, including me, no one was behind me. No one was behind me people!  Look we didn’t die or anything.    

I got my driving permit early.  Not because I was a good driver, but because my father was blind and needed to be driven around.  When I used to drive the car in the beginning with my father, he would hold on to this bar on the door and he looked like he was praying.  Oh he was definitely praying.  I almost killed us a couple times; he was losing his eyesight at the time.  I was going to lose my license because he swore he would take a pair of scissors and cut my license up into tiny pieces if I ever tried to kill him again.  At the time I didn’t know what the big deal was. 

However my problem may have been hereditary. How can I say this without actually being accused of libel?  When my mom came to America she was used to the cars driving on the left hand side of the street because that’s how they do it in India.  In fact while learning to drive she may or may not have automatically started to just go into the left lane, ignoring oncoming traffic.  My father was teaching her to drive at the time; he was fully sighted and fully scared for his life!  They in the end decided to get a driving instructor, I mean I can’t imagine why! 

However once when my mom was driving our family to Bangkok Cuisine, she was taking a left U-turn.  Instead of turning at the proper place, she might have driven over the median, I mean over the flowers in the median and just said aloud to herself, “Where did that come from?” when she felt the car jolt.  My family was silent; I mean we were scared silent.  She turned that car like it was not really happening!  This actually happened and I lived to tell about it!

Before I had to operate large machinery like cars, playing was the biggest job I had as a kid.  I used to ride my hot pink Huffy bike all through the neighborhood.  I used to sing and dance to Madonna tunes in my best friend’s basement all day long.  Of course no amount of singing has led me to be in tune.  At all. 

Imagine pretending like you are Madonna all day long? Of course we didn’t dress like her because that would have been a different kind of pretending.  But the fun never ended.  I mean when I was young I could watch T.V. for like four hours at a time.  Now I watch it for four minutes and realize there is nothing on about four hundred channels.

In the old days we had to get up to change one of five channels and we were glued to the T.V.  We had an old Zenith T.V. that had a knob that you had to screw to channels like VHS.  The screen was kind of roundish at the edges.  It was quite the antique.  People’s heads looked a little oblong.  It had an antenna on it.  

When I was like eleven we got a new big screen T.V.  It was one of the first of its kind and it was so fancy it had oak wood cabinets on it.  I think it cost three thousand dollars.  That was a fortune in the eighties.  That’s a fortune now.

They bought the T.V. for the whole family but they told me it was my birthday present.  I was truly touched.  It was awesome.

Speaking of touching: well I was just hanging out innocently watching T.V. one day.  I went up to the T.V. for some reason or the other; I was trying to adjust the antenna on it.  The screen had these grooves on it.  My nail must have gone over the grooves on the screen and some of my hot pink nail polish made a spot in the middle of the screen.  This was a couple days after we got the T.V.

Let the record show that it was DRY nail polish.  I did not put my finger on the T.V. when my nail polish was wet.  Of course I had no idea that I made that spot but my parents started to notice this hot pink spot on the T.V.  What was it they asked?  Was it a bug?  Did the T.V. come like that?  I had no idea.

To this day, they think I took a bottle of nail polish and purposely painted the T.V. screen.  Do you realize how weird and crazy they thought I was? What normal well -behaved child decides to start painting a brand new T.V. with hot pink nail polish? 

I was accused of doing that because many years before when I was five I had painted the stairs with orange nail polish with my friend.  And that my friends; was not my idea even though I got spanked for it.  So no one obviously believed that I didn’t purposely put nail polish on the T.V. screen.  It became a joke in my house many years later. 

We tried everything to get it off, we even put nail polish remover on the screen.  The remover created a three dimensional effect to the hot pink spot.  That spot was there twenty years later, when the T.V. stopped working.  Many, many, years later they still don’t believe I didn’t do it on purpose.  One day my parents were like, “Just tell us the truth, we don’t even care at this point.”  But I stood my ground.  I told them them the truth! I’m telling you the truth!  Why do you doubt me?

Of course before the big screen T.V. stopped working, when I was sixteen my mom decided that she was sick and tired of us bringing food into the living room.  She thought we were ruining the couch and the carpet.  She knew what was driving us to go into the living room: it was the infamous T.V. with the hot pink stain on it.

So she one day took a pair of scissors and cut the cord of the T.V. in front of us, very dramatically. That was it; we had no T.V. in the living room anymore.  My sister and me were shocked and dismayed.  It was like she had shot the T.V. with a gun.  It was done.  We were either too young or too stupid to realize that you can fix a power cord.  We did not dare anyways because she screamed, “There will be no more T.V. in this room!”  She might as well have burned the T.V. down because we didn’t use it for like ten years.  We didn’t use a three thousand dollar T.V. for ten years because someone cut the power cord.   

When we finally fixed the cord, by then the T.V. just didn’t work due to other malfunctions.  I don’t understand OK?  I don’t understand how a T.V. just sits there in a living room for ten years and then brakes.  The T.V. man said it would cost two thousand dollars to fix the T.V.  We are Indian after all is said and done; we ain’t paying nobody two thousand dollars for any kind of labor and parts.  It was enough that we paid more than that for something we never used.   We had someone later gut the T.V. out and we now use the oak cabinets as oak cabinets.  The whole thing enrages me for various reasons.

First of all I’m accused of putting nail polish graffiti on the T.V.  Then someone who will remain unnamed takes a pair of scissors and just cuts the cord of the T.V.  There are no repercussions for that human even though I was terrorized for the nail polish ‘situation.’  I know my mom is a doctor and all, but this was not an umbilical chord.  This was my life.  My T.V.

We had two other T.V.’s in the finished basement etc.  But that was the cool T.V.  Now we have five T.V.’s in our house with cable and hundreds of channels.  The only problem:  There is nothing on T.V.  I have to watch Netflix shows that are hooked up to my computer if I want to watch anything interesting.  We have another big screen T.V. in the living room.  However it is not plasma or anything fancy.  At this point it seems old fashion. 

We didn’t have no Internet, but man I never will forget…

Kid Rock sings that.  He was right…I will never forget those times before technology took over the world. 

Remember when you just listened to music a lot instead of surfing the web?  When I was twelve and this whole nail polish ‘incident’ happened, I was also playing the trumpet.  The thing was in music class we had to pick an instrument.  All the girls picked like the flute and the clarinet.  I may be feminine, but I’m no sissy.  I wanted to play the saxophone.  My music teacher told me I wasn’t good enough to play the saxophone.  He wasn’t going to teach an untalented freak like me the complex saxophone.  In his defense, music was not my forte.

So I picked the trumpet.

I would practice in our Livonia home, in our unfinished basement.  I would play to my own tunes.  I tried the music sheets but reading music was like math.  I wasn’t particularly fond of it or good at it.  Let’s just say in terms of the trumpet, I was last chair.  I would hoot that thing and it would resonate throughout the house, throughout the neighborhood I suspect and throughout eternity I think.  Have you ever heard a person play the trumpet out of tune?  It’s like a loud death.

One day my parents sat me down in the kitchen.  “We think maybe you should stop practicing,” one of them said.

“But you bought me a trumpet for three hundred dollars!” I protested.

“We think you should stop practicing!” they both said.

That was the end of my trumpet career.

What’s funny is my sister played the flute.  She was a genius at it.  They would not buy her the flute; they rented it for like ten years.  They probably paid three times the price of that flute in rental costs.  She played the flute into adulthood like a master.  She is very musically inclined.  YES we are related!
Yes I still have the trumpet.  Do you want to buy it?  Do you know anyone who does? Yes we still have the Zenith T.V., anyone want to buy that?

I got to get rid of these things before I get the urge to play them again. 

nina


(Join me on Facebook at Author Nina Kaur)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

You are a Badass


Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
So I stared reading self-help books. Yeah, I know, I know they are usually cliche and rarely change you in any way.  I think there is a caveat to that rule though...I think you can change if you really want to change regardless of whether or not you are reading self-help literature.

Well, I wasn't exactly looking to go the self-help route, but I needed something to pick me up and get me going. So I picked up this book called, "YOU are a BADASS-How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start living an Awesome Life," by Jen Sincero. 



Yes, I judged the book by it's cover.  But it wasn't just the title, in the self-help world, the language can be really cliche and quite frankly very condescending. Sincero speaks my language.

Sometimes she uses foul language, but she does not do it for no reason. She makes her points by speaking from the heart. I'm not even done with the book, but I'm ready to jump start my life. I'm trying to figure out how to make money doing this blogging thing. Lots of people are making lots of money blogging, so why can't I be one of them?

But really this whole thing is about something bigger, it's about channeling your inner goddess or source to become the person you were meant to be. I mean honestly, are you happy? Are you living the life you were meant to live?

Maybe you are, and hats off to you. However most of us are getting by. I'm not saying this book will save your life, I'm saying it's time to save your life. Someone once said that "Most people live lives of quiet desperation."

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be one of those people. 

Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I'm turning forty, but I feel like I'm a crossroads in my life. I know for my career I want to make money writing and I want to teach/speak. 

Are you doing what you want in life? All I can say is that there is no time like the present to evaluate that. It's not just about my career. It's about my personal life as well. 

At this point in life it would be nice to have a partner. But I guess I have to feel like I'm worthy of having a wonderful person in my life. 

The idea of manifesting things in your life, or getting the things you want out of your life is simple: believe you can have them. 

I believe I can become a famous author, I believe I can meet a 'soul mate' and live a beautiful life. It's saying things like this in my head that will help me. Affirmations, or saying positive things over and over again, actually works. Or so they say.

I'm gonna try this whole positive thinking thing. I'm gonna see if I can make it work for me, because thus far negative thinking hasn't gotten me very far. 

What about you, would you like to join on my on this journey of self-actualization? If not, that's OK, however if you do want to change the way things are in your life, my advice is to find a path to do so. Maybe a book, maybe a coaching program etc. There are a lot of different paths that lead to the same goal. 

In the end I think it's about loving yourself enough to give yourself the life you deserve.

nina


image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, September 28, 2015

Truly Sweetheart

Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion. 
--Scott Adams

So I virtually meet this guy online, his handle on the website is Truly Sweetheart.  Yup, that should have been my first clue. I don't remember that much about his profile except that he claimed that out of all the men out there, he was a good guy. 

He was alright looking as well, so I pinged him. We messaged a bit with the crappy messenger on the website and I asked him if he wanted to talk on the phone sometime instead of using the crappy system. And also I like to talk to guys before I meet them.

He told me that he had been stalked before and he could not give me his phone number. OK, I thought. But he was insistent that we video chat. I agreed even though I hadn't showered yet and I looked like crap. 

So I suggest various methods of video chatting, it takes him nearly an hour to figure out how to video chat with me. Even I, a very novice computer user was getting annoyed. 

So finally we video chat. He has a thick European accent, so I ask him where he is from. He is a Palestinian Jew. I find that kinda interesting.  The part that throws me off is that he lives with random family members and he works for a call center. 

I don't know why he just didn't seem my cup of tea. However, he suggests that we meet and I agree anyways, what's the harm I think. 

However, after our video chat I decide that I like this other guy I've been chatting with a whole lot better, and don't want to meet Truly Sweetheart anymore.

I email him that I'm seeing someone else. 

He writes me an insane email back, saying that there was no way humanely possible that I could have met someone in twenty four hours, that I was playing him a fool, probably didn't like his accent and am what he called, "a fucking racist."

He called me a racist and then had the gaul to say "You know what...go fuck yourself, Indian bitch...boy am I glad I didn't have to meet you in person...Would not want to be part of the East Indian bullshit."

I don't know if anyone has ever really said anything that blatantly racist to me before. I would think that a Palestinian Jew might understand a thing or two about racism. 

What scares me is that besides his sketchy living situation and his less then desirable job, he seemed like a nice guy. He told me that I was interesting and pretty. He laid it on thick.

I understand that sometimes immigrants are more racist than Americans, but is that even true? How many people out there are thinking the same thing he is?

When you think about how much hate there is for immigrants in general, ironically, I think there are a lot more people who share this vision that when you get upset with someone, it must be their race that is the reason they are upsetting you.

If I'm a bitch, I'm just a bitch, I'm not an "Indian bitch." Just like I don't think of this dude as a Jewish bastard, I just think he is a bastard. 

This guy is a minority from a war stricken country where the main problem is religious and ethnic racism, and he has come here spreading hate.

For the record I don't think he should go back to his own country, because I think it doesn't matter where you spread racism. I don't think I live in a racist country, I think I live in a racist world. 

This problem is obviously bigger than America and Americans. What's funny is I just recently met a Jewish guy who claims that Indians and Jews are so much alike. 

In some ways we are, but aren't we all sort of alike? I'm a Sikh, a minority everywhere, he's a Jew, a minority everywhere as well. 

I hate to sound cliche but, "Why can't we all just get along?"

nina  

image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Worst Day of My Life...

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” 
― J.K. Rowling

Have I told you this story before? I don't think I have. It still feels so raw to me, like it happened yesterday...but it was a while ago.

It was when I hit rock bottom. 

This is the worst I have ever felt in my entire life.

I was in the hospital due to a manic episode because I was not taking my Bipolar medication. They gave me a medication, Haldol, and I received the worst side effects imaginable. I became psychosomatically paralyzed. I could not move my body. One of the side effects is Parkinson's like symptoms. However no one realized that this was a side effect and they just thought I was truly losing my mind and body.

For a few days of my life I could not feed myself, dress myself, or go to the bathroom by myself. And I was in a wheelchair. I know there are people who live like this always, and I honestly cannot tell you the extent to which we could learn from them. When you have to ask a friend to feed you because the nurse refuses, thinks you are faking it, as your hands are shaking, you know that this new "friend" is someone to remember. But I don't remember her name, I remember her face though. I will never forget her gentle hands as she spooned food into my mouth.

When you can't function for yourself, there is a certain intimacy you feel for those around you who help. There is a gratefulness, a humility. 

I'm gonna be straight up honest, if you have to ask someone to wipe your ass, and they actually do it, it changes both of you. The nurse I had didn't want to do it but she could clearly see I couldn't. I have never felt so desperate, so mortified as I did at that moment.

If the tables ever turn and I have to do this for someone else, I will know what a sensitive and honorable gift this is.  

One night I had somehow crawled to the bathroom, and I lay there underneath the cold toilet, because I could not hoist myself up. It was the middle of the night and no one was there to help me. As I lay there, I looked at the toilet and I looked at the ceiling. I remember the dirty floor beneath me.

I had a little talk with god or the universe, or the source in my head. Whatever you want to call her. I told her that if she could get me out of this, I would do everything, anything she wanted me to do. That if I could just get out of this, I could do anything. I would be true, whatever the hell that meant. I would do the right thing, whatever that means. I would do what I came here on this earth to do, whatever that is.  

Low and behold a few days later the drug wore off and I could walk again. 

It's been many years now, and sometimes I think I forget what it was like to be paralyzed for that short period of time. But one thing I did not forget was the promise I made in that bathroom. I wait sometimes, listening to my own self, my own heart, waiting for a sign from god that is going to tell me exactly what she wants me to do.

Most of it is silence, and I think I get it now. She doesn't want me to forget. Compared to that person lying underneath that toilet, I have everything now. And I still don't know it. 

Since this episode there have been times I have been depressed and "paralyzed" in my bed. However even in these times, what I didn't realize is that I could move. I am lucky...

I have the ability to dance, and I'm sitting it out half of the time. Is god going to tell me exactly what she wants me to do now that I promised I would do it? Probably not.

She will show me, as she always has. I've decided that the only thing god wants from me is to live, really move this body and mind, really live. What does that mean? It means experiencing the beauty of life while being myself.  

Maybe you are reading this because she wants the same for you.

nina

Image courtesy of Photokanok at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Good "Man" in Politics is Hard to Find

One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don't go into government.
Let's have a moment of absurdity and talk about something that actually matters in this world and not the next. I just have to say the name: Donald Trump, and you will react. He's like a dirty joke that went viral. 

I'm not saying I believe in the devil, I'm just saying that if there is per chance and per say an Anti-Christ contest, Trump might be the pageant winner for the role. Mr. America. 

I'm sort of depressed about this whole presidency thing because I was all about Hillary Clinton until she opened her unoriginal mouth. She's got nothing to say that I haven't heard before. She is a master at being a diplomatic politician who feeds off of polls. She talks like a puppet. She will probably win.

What that says about our country...I don't know.

I was thinking I would per chance and per say have an opportunity to vote for a real human during this election. Don't get me wrong, Trump makes for good entertainment. I can't wait to see what sick and twisted things he will say at the debates. I want him to have every opportunity to show his inhumanity. 

However, after the dirty joke is over, and you have laughed, there is usually nothing of substance to do with that joke except be disgusted by it. What would this country do with a Donald? I'm not talking about the duck I'm talking about the man, in case there is any confusion.

I'm going to be straight up honest. I wanted Hillary to win because she is a woman and it is about time. There is a part of me that still supports that notion. Would I vote for Hillary just because she is a woman? No. She is qualified in many ways, however to me she just doesn't really seem like a nice person. Yeah, I said it, she kind of seems like a bitch.

Do I say that because she is a woman? No. I think Donald Trump is a bitch too, a bigger one in fact.

Do we need a bitch up there? Maybe. But the president better be bitching about the right things. Hillary seems like she has her own personal political agenda, not a larger agenda for the country. Yet let's be honest, we vote for parties in this country, not individuals. Presidents don't have as much power as we like to think. I will vote Democratic because it's the lesser of two evils, not because I think the Democratic candidate is going to change the world. We collectively need to change the world, we can't rely on them.   

I think Hillary is a status quo kinda gal. She has got nothing new to offer women. God help me, I love Obama with all my heart, but what has he offered to African Americans?  Maybe there is something you can think of that I can't. Maybe it's just the notion that little black boys say to themselves, "I could be president one day too." Hilary could do that for little girls. Hilary could do that for me and maybe even you.

But she doesn't really impress me as a human. She's not real in any way, she is not authentic. She is probably the definition of a politician. And most likely with the Republican circus that is going on, she will win this election.

However, umm...I am a little impressed by Bernie Sanders. Yeah he's waay left, and so am I. It says so on my Match.com profile: Very Liberal. Maybe that's why I don't have a boyfriend...

Sander's is a little Socialist, and frankly so am I. to the left, to the left...

I mean we have some serious issues in this country that could be solved if we took away from the military budget and enhanced the social services budget. That's just my opinion.

You may vehemently disagree, which I respect and acknowledge. Maybe you think we should have more bombs and guns or whatever.

You think I'm wrong, I think you are wrong. Let's just agree to disagree on this one. I may be more left of, I don't know, all of you or at least some of you.

I'm not a Communist although I've been accused of being one. Wrongfully so. 

Yes it's true that I lived in a commune for like a week...and I think the idea that people share is good, however I'm an American.  I don't know what the statement: I'm an American, really means, however I'm not a fool. Maybe that's what that statement means to me. 

I realize that democracy and capitalism allows me to live the luxurious life that I live. However there is still a part of me that knows we can do better than this.

Whatever we agree or disagree about in this election, we can all agree that things need to get better. For you, for me, for the little guy, even for the big guy. 

We can do better this election...we can force them to listen to our cries. Whatever it is that you are crying for, let yourself be heard. Cause one day you too, could grow up to make a difference.

nina

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, July 31, 2015

Imagine no Internet Shopping

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

John Lennon






Do you make unnecessary purchases in the middle of the night? It's five o'clock in the morning and I've been up all night and I want to buy this faux leather futon on eBay. Do I need it? Absolutely not. Do I want it? Absolutely. Will I buy it? I'm waiting for the day because I feel like a nighttime purchase is always bad.

I bought this video cassette for forty dollars once, it was called "Facial Magic." I wanted it for my birthday but no one would buy it for me. It is basically exercises for your face so you won't get wrinkles. I still have the video tape that I bought from an infomercial in the middle of the night. I've never used it and I threw out our last VHS player.

What to do? To buy or not to buy? I'm gonna buy it, I know that. What can I say, I'm self-indulgent. I'm kind of a spoiled princess. Sort of. Maybe. I mean am I?

I have a somewhat disposable income right now because I'm living in my parents home. Trust me there is a price to pay for everything, it may not be in dollars, but there is a price. 

Sanity is not always easy in your parents home. I moved into the basement so that I could have a little peace. 

You can't buy peace, although the white futon looks so peaceful. I could even sleep on it, but mostly I'm using it as a couch. In the middle of the night once, I almost bought a really good bathroom cleaner that could transform the nastiest of bathrooms, although my bathroom wasn't nasty, I just thought it was so amazing.

That is the inherent problem with sleep buying. Every gimmick looks so spectacular in the light of the night stars. You think you might need those six-hundred-dollar knives one day. 

I don't need that futon. Why am I spending my money when I should be saving it? Because people, sometimes you got to give. To yourself. No one else is gonna give you anything.

Is that selfish? No, it's just true. If I didn't buy myself cute outfits and cool stuff, no one else really is going to. Is that a valid justification? It depends on what you can actually afford. I can actually afford to be a little materialistic right now. That may change in an instant. 

I mean I probably shop too much, but I've gotten much better and I'm really trying not to let buying things be that important to me. 

I guess the real question is, could I live without my things, my clothes, my stuff?

If I lost everything in a fire, or had to sell everything in order to survive, would I be able to still be happy? 

No.

But I'm trying. I'm trying not to define myself by what I own. I'm trying not to let shoppers high be the thing I turn to in order to be happy. 

My stuff is not going to make me happy, that futon is going to make me smile sometimes, but mostly it something I will have to clean. Like everything else, it will collect dust. 

The only thing that isn't collecting dust, is my soul. Even my mind has got some weird way of losing it's fine skills, but my soul, my spirit, doesn't need any of this shit. 

Give it a loin cloth and a mat to sleep on and it's fine.

The rest of me has a king size bed and some high thread count sheets. Someone once asked Oprah if she felt guilty about having so much when there are people who don't have anything. 

Oprah said no. She said it wasn't going to make poor people any richer if she's poor. Oprah gives when she needs to give. We all give in the ways that we can, to the people that we can. Even if they are our own family. 

But do you give to yourself? Sometimes you are worthy of your greatest gift. Of course your greatest gift is love, but those hot pink stilettos are a close second.

nina 

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Road Rules

Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
I wonder sometimes what other people I might have been had I chosen to become a lawyer or a doctor like I thought I would in my younger years. 

I wanted to fight for battered women and children as a lawyer when I was in college, so no matter what road I took I probably would not have made much money. It's not that money is not important to me I just believe you have to be happy with what you do and then the money will come.

What different road could you have taken in life? What different road can you still take?

I was driving to Grand Blanc last weekend and I noticed a sign with a picture of Jesus on it, "Are you on the right road?"

Am I?

And what would be 'right?' I'm not even sure where the right place to put the quotation mark is. What do I know about right and wrong?

I'm at the car dealership and Judge Judy is on television. She's trying to tell people what is right and wrong according to the law.

Do you think there is a right and a wrong? I mean I think it depends. It's definitely wrong to hurt other people, but what if you do it while trying to do the right thing? It is definitely right to fight for your rights, however if you hurt people along the way, how right is it?

It's a slippery slope. 

But we all know that. 

I don't know about you, but I'm on a road that is winding. I make a lot of turns. Sometimes I change roads, but sometimes it is this very road that it so twisty and turny. There are also places of deep construction and accidents. I stop a lot. 

If my road is anything like a Michigan road, I'm in trouble and I'm going nowhere fast. 

What is your destination? Death? I don't know if that's so bad. I mean maybe some of you think there is a heaven, some a hell. Or some think we are coming back again and again. 

I believe in all of the above. I think my destination is a death. I think there is a heaven. I think I could create my own hell, that's the only hell I think there is. I also think that I will journey in some other form again if I so choose to.

But what am I trying to achieve on this road? You know that song, "I got a fast car, fast enough so I can fly away. I gotta make a decision, leave tonight or live die this way..." Sometime I want to go fast, sometimes I just want to ride slowly and enjoy the scenery.

Ultimately I'm alone on this road, and I chose a road as a writer that not many choose. 

I like it here though, it's painfully slow at times, but I get to breathe here. I get to be me here. I can walk, I can run, I can drive. Sometimes I swim on my road.

Sometimes the road doesn't realize, and sometimes when I'm not paying attention, I dance to my destination. 

nina

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Utopia

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” 
― Apple Inc.

I'm crazy enough to think I could change the world. 

I'm serious.

Dead serious.

Although I haven't exactly worked out a plan or anything like that.

I considered becoming the next Dalai Lama, but we already have one. Although I think a woman is required.

How would I like to change things up? Let's see, well for starters there would be no war. I didn't say no guns or bombs, just no war. You can have all the toys you want, but war should be illegal.

I know to some of you I sound naive or stupid even, however if you have a fight talk it out like adults do. You get in trouble in school for fist fighting, we should get in trouble in general for fighting physically over things that can be talked through. 

OK, now that that's taken care of, everyone would be fed. I don't even care if you have a place to live properly, I just want to feed you. Food is kinda important. 

How am I planning on doing this? Don't get lost in the details, stay with me. I don't know, what does your utopia look like?

Women, obviously, would be in the same positions as men, with the same pay. This is my brand of utopia, maybe in yours apes will rule. 

I mean I'm assuming we all want the same thing: peace. I mean I realize there are those who just dream of a world with more guns. I mean that's great, more gunman, more shootings. Because we obviously haven't had enough of those.

I might be crazy, crazy to assume that the world could even change at all. But join me, will you? Whatever your utopia looks like, it's got to be better than this.

Whatever your crazy dream, keep thinking it could come true. It could be genius. It could happen.

nina

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, July 24, 2015

And So It Is

“As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being.  If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, “It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.” How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment—from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies—how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?”
~ Alan Watts, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

I don't know if I need to say anymore, Alan Watts pretty much said it all for me. We are here, we are alive and we are not alive. 

How many of us are dead before dying? How many of us are sleep walking. Where is our reality? Where is our humanity? If we are so human, than why is it so hard to remember to breathe deeply. Love deeply. Laugh deeply.

I want to live fully. I want to know fully. And be fully. 

This is not easy, yet it is at the same time the easiest way to be. 

Alan Watts says that we are gods. I like to think of myself as a goddess. Is that egotistical and vain? Maybe. 

I never said I was perfect.

And I would like to ask, what does it mean just to be? Does that mean you can't do anything or say anything? Or is it just being aware of what you are in every moment?

I'm drinking coffee right now, I should probably be more aware of how good it tastes. And how much I love writing these words, I should notice it more.

I should notice the way the sun cascades through the trees in the morning light. Is to be, an appreciation of everything?

Maybe it is. Maybe to be, really means to be thankful for each moment. I can hear the refrigerator starting: thank you universe for the abundance of food. I have to get ready for work, thank you for the running water to take a shower and beautiful clothes I have to choose from.

Thank you.

I have these wonderful gadgets, this iPhone and Mac Air computer. On a base level I have a place to live and nothing to worry about. 

Well sort of, I'm worried about stuff. But not like survival stuff. Life stuff. How do I turn that around into a thankful situation?

Like I'm worried I won't lose weight. Perhaps I should be thankful that I have a lovely body with all the limbs in place. I'm worried I might not get enough classes to teach next semester. I am thankful for the opportunity to spread my wisdom and knowledge. 

Perhaps I should smile more. Perhaps I should be thankful that I have a place to express such thoughts and someone is reading.

Thank you for reading.

nina

Image courtesy of markuso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Read This Every Morning...

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love – for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you from misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” 
― Max EhrmannDesiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life

I have this poem or whatever it is, framed in my bedroom. I try to read it as often as I can. My therapist gave it to me years ago. I don't think she realizes what an impact it had on me. 

I especially like the part where it says be gentle with yourself. How many of us are nice to ourselves? If I was my best friend would I treat myself the same way I do? Why are my best friends more forgiving of my mistakes then I am?

People often say, 'be yourself.' What does that mean if we are not sure who we are? I mean I know I'm nina, and I know lots of things about me. However who am I really? 

I like that he says I'm a child of the universe. I like the idea that I'm still a child at almost forty. Sometimes I laugh like a kid, sometimes I cry like a baby.

It really is still a beautiful world, isn't it? It's hard to always see that...to be that...to know that. I can see out my window right now and everything is pretty outside. It's not as pretty in the winter, but even winter has it's own beauty. Even the hard times have their purpose and eventual lessons. 

I want to have peace with my soul, I'm tired of fighting it. Many times I do things that are not good for my soul, and in that sense I'm fighting who I really am. 

Fighting with god is another thing. I'm not exactly agreeing with all the things that he is sort of allowing to happen. But I don't understand most of it, I don't know why. I can't see the bigger universal picture. It seems we are destroying ourselves, yet is this really god's fault?

I need to close my eyes and strive to be happy. It is sort of that easy, isn't it? But so damn difficult, isn't it? There are moments I feel happy. There are moments I'm trying to be happy. Some moments I have no idea how I feel. 

Mostly I feel like things will be OK. I feel like everything is OK.  

nina

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, July 20, 2015

Life is Simple

“This is your life. Do what you want and do it often. 
If you don't like something, change it. 
If you don't like your job, quit.
If you don't have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
Stop over-analyzing, life is simple.
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
Life is simple.
Open your heart, mind and arms to new things and people, we are united in our differences.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them.
Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
Some opportunities only come once, seize them.
Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.
Life is short, live your dream and wear your passion.” 
― Holstee ManifestoThe Wedding Day

I suspect and I've heard that life is simple. People on the other hand are complicated, or are they? Maybe everything is really simple.

Maybe I need to stop waiting for my real life to start. I think this might be it. I've had almost forty years of it and it's been real I suppose. I mean I know I've been alive for forty years but how much of that time was I paying attention?

I don't know, I'm not paying attention...

I'm not kidding I just spaced out. I just saw this thing on Oprah about how multitasking is like anti-spiritual, bad for the brain and the soul. I can barely do one task at a time. But I've seen people juggle so many things at once with brilliance, and some people have to. It may be a luxury to not have to multitask.

I mean the news is on, I'm at my friends house, she's making eggplant parmesan, I'm sitting on my computer. Is that too many things at once? How many and what is too many?

When exactly did we become these machines that have to be stimulated by several things all at once in order to be awake? I can smell the food, hear the T.V. and see this screen.

Sometimes I want to shut the noise off, shut off the T.V., let the battery die on my phone, unhook my computer and talk to someone. I mean really talk to someone. 

I put my ringer on silent today and my friend ended up calling me twice then calling our landline. It's like there is no escaping it. I was having a serious conversation with my mom and my phone kept beeping so I put it on silent. 

Remember when people couldn't get a hold of you for weeks or months at a time? Remember when you had a life that didn't revolve around the very gadgets with which you are reading this with?

Remember pens, pencils, paper and handwritten notes passed during class? Remember holding the newspaper in your hands and feeling the crumbly crap it was made out of? Was that even paper?

Did we live more when we had only five channels and no remote? I don't know, I'm not sure.  (By the way where's the remote?) 

Something is wrong though, I think we are not living the way that would be the best for our spirits. What is a spirit you ask?

That's another conversation, but there is a part of me that is not agreeing with the pace at which life moves these days. I don't mean to sound like a bitter old woman, but maybe that is exactly what I am.

I'm bitter that my friend is not talking to me right now, she is reading, funny enough, a magazine in paper form. CNN is on T.V., I'm writing on a Mac. We are content not speaking much unless we have a comment to make about something. She handed me a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon. I said thank you.

When did life become so banal? 

I tried to start a conversation just now, asking her what she is reading. She told me and then we stopped talking.

I want to shut off the T.V., rip away her paper, and make her speak to me. But what would I say? Am I more interesting than a girl whose seizers were cured by medical marijuana? 

I'm not an entertainment factory or anything like that, but I've been known to tell a joke or two. Sometimes I even have an insight to share. 

I'm so confused as to what CNN is talking about, something about China. My friend is taking out the trash. 

Why is everything so confusing when it's supposed to be so simple?

What do I want out of this moment? I don't want to be annoyed. Did you know that Gloria Vanderbilt is Anderson Cooper's mother. My friend said so, and I sounded amused.

I'm not. 

Now she's got her Android tablet out, so I know not to disturb her. There is a story about Euthanasia on CNN. I don't want to have some crazy debate about the right to end your life.

I want my life to start.

But it has hasn't it? When I was busy preparing: shaving my legs, putting on deodorant. How do live when all we have is this life?

We go on, through the boring moments, through the lonely moments. The moments we are with someone and they make us feel more lonely than when we were alone. 

There are beautiful moments, trust me, I know. Yet somehow sometimes they are more difficult to remember.

I do love life. I don't always love my life, but every moment cannot be a winning one. 

We are simple, we want love. Yet we are so complicated in the ways in which we seek it. 

Life is so short, yet so long in some moments.

Life is beautiful and ugly and weird.

Mostly it's weird.

Mostly I don't get it.

But I will, one day.

nina

Image courtesy of nattavut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Mystery of Song

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Life is a song - sing it. Life is a game - play it. Life is a challenge - meet it. Life is a dream - realize it. Life is a sacrifice - offer it. Life is love - enjoy it.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/saibaba176928.html#cQyWysX3W9M70cyi.99


Sometimes I think my life is a song. I wouldn't sing it, cause I can't sing. I'd have Stevie Nicks sing it. Who would you have sing your song?

I'm listening to old Indian music right now, I only understand half of it. The other half I make up. How many times have you made up the lyrics of a song and then realized you were completely wrong?

I've done it more times than I can recall. With Indian music, I make up the meanings of some of the words. I think Hindi is a more beautiful language then English. I know, if I don't like English why do I have so many degrees in it? English may not be the most beautiful sounding language, but you can say things in English that there are no words for in other languages.

Even though I think Hindi is more aesthetically pleasing, I don't speak it only because my parents used to make fun of me as a kid when I spoke in my English accent. It's sad, I can't speak it without feeling self conscious. 

If I had a kid I would try to speak it so the kid would learn. If I have a kid one day, I will teach it a little Hindi and Punjabi. I just called a kid, an it. I don't even know English well enough after all this school.

In Grad School I had a professor who would argue over my grammar only when I wasn't writing with my heart. He said when I followed my heart, my grammar fixed itself. 

Isn't that true of everything? The songs that speak to me, sometimes I even hit the notes. People are shocked and amazed, because usually I'm purely out of tune.

Even plants can understand songs, they do better with music. I do better with music. I think my writing is better when I put on a song or two. It helps me have rhythm.

On my computer I pretend the keyboard is a piano. I pretend I'm writing a song. I pretend there is music in my words.

Right now I'm listening to a traditional wedding song, and I'm dancing in my chair. The song is called: Mera Laung Gavacha. I have no idea what it means, it is in Punjabi. But the beat is so right.

I told my professor that I dance when I write. He told me he knew, he could tell.

If life is a song, I want to write this one. I want you to sing with me. I want to die singing.

nina