life

Osho Would Say “I Am the Black Gold of the Sun”… You Are Too.

Find ecstasy within yourself. It is not out there. It is in your innermost flowering. The one you are looking for is you. – Osho

Today, I spoke to my very dear friend N while on a two-hour break at work. We hadn’t spoken in eons, due to time differences, the general business of her grad school life, and that neither of us are on Skype at the same time. I’ve also been partly responsible, because I’ve withdrawn from many “social” things, i.e., Facebook, Skype and an abundance of social activities, largely because I’d like to quiet a lot of the “noise” around me/ in me. It seems to me, so much of my daily life gets caught up in a lot of mindless chatter and inattentiveness…

The mind is always ready to go on some ego trip. And if you are fed up with the world, then again the ego starts finding new ways and new means to enhance itself – it becomes spiritual. You become a great mahatma, a great sage, a great scholar, a man of knowledge, a man of renunciation; again you are special. Unless the desire to be special disappears, you will never be special. Unless you relax into your ordinariness, you will never relax. - Osho

It seems lately that I’ve been a renouncing fool, but I’m not running away from things, but running to something. Trying to “be.” Looking for peace within myself and not looking for answers or validation from other people or from artificial, temporary buzzes. This is a period of “not really caring” about the opinions of others. It’s about trying to quell the ego. It’s okay if you think I’m a bitch, or kind, or superficial, or ugly, or attractive, or well-dressed, or poorly dressed, self-involved or giving. It doesn’t matter, please say what you like.

Your whole idea about yourself is borrowed– borrowed from those who have no idea of who they are themselves. – Osho

The most amazing thing I learned in college was how insecure most people are, including myself. I met some of the most wonderful, beautiful girls. Girls who swore they were ugly or fat or a combination of the two. I couldn’t believe that acknowledged “beauties” and genuinely lovely people could be so hard on themselves, have so much ingrained doubt. I was a size seven then, and internally browbeated myself about that until I got to a weight I found “attractive.” Did I become happier then? No. As I get older, I realize that this is what this life does to us. (Sometimes, it’s not life but family and friends). Beats us down. Forces us to concentrate on the superficial, the inconsequential, the complete time wasters. If we knew we were the black gold of the sun, if we knew and believed we were Godly/God-like/divine from day one, could anyone tell us we weren’t good enough? Would we even care what another person thought? Would we care if we weighed more than a few pounds past the “ideal?”(In case you’re in doubt, the answer’s a resounding “No”).

Take hold of your own life. See that the whole existence is celebrating. These trees are not serious, these birds are not serious. The rivers and the oceans are wild, and everywhere there is fun, everywhere there is joy and delight. Watch existence, listen to the existence and become part of it. ―  Osho

Let’s go inside our minds. Meditate. Become. It would be nice to spend as much time on the spirit as on dining out, make-up, clothes, hair maintenance, etc. It would bring real joy. N said that she’s been reading my blog and I seem very happy. Tokyo makes me glad (the orderliness, the courteousness, the amazing food), and there are great days, but as I told her and all of you in previous posts, I’ve felt something is missing. I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that I’m bored, despite the social activities and gregarious people that surround me. My boredom isn’t coming from the outside, but within. For years, I aimed to attain spiritual clarity to quiet my hyperactive mind, but I haven’t done anything in months. Not even as much as a moment of gratitude or a silent moment. N‘s conversation about “fantasy lives,” a part of which will follow, reminded me that there’s more to life than shopping, acquiring, eating, and living without an aim.

All that is great cannot be possessed – and that is one of the most foolish things man goes on doing. We want to possess.  ― Osho

N: my fantasy life is a bit silly but I would love to live in a bungalow by the beach, grow fruits, and write a book.

valerie smith: Dude, me too!!!! That’s not silly at all.

N: No kids.  Just me and my husband.

valerie smith: Me too, but not the fruit part.

N: Just living. That’s what I want.

valerie smith: I love that!!!

N: So ya, that is what I’m visualising. Now to make it happen.

valerie smith: I think that’s amazing not silly at all.

N: Just very low-key.  No make up, no handbags. I got rid of half my wardrobe recently. Kept only what I like. Was so liberating.

valerie smith: I’ve done that. It feels great. No makeup would be fantastic.

N: I realised that even though I now have enough to buy what I like, when you have the expensive handbag or shoes, the happiness is short lived, you’re bored after 5 min. It’s not satisfying. So there’s got to be more.

valerie smith: yep.

Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny – he or she has something to fulfill, some message that has to be delivered, some work that has to be completed. You are not here accidentally – you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The whole intends to do something through you.  ― Osho

What is my purpose here? If nothing else to bring a smile to someone else. (I make myself smile all the time, it might mean I’m crazy… ?). Though, this blog is a journal of sorts, it’s meant to be positive… for myself and others. How would relaying the days I feel down serve you (and obviously, there are some) ? I don’t believe it would. Everyone’s mission is different however, and I learn from and relate to the sadness of others. In a previous post’s comments, my brother said I was being “Pollyanna-ish,” and I thought “Yes, I’m glad, I’m happy, my intentions are succeeding.”

Be well.

Nobody can say anything about you. Whatsoever people say is about themselves. But you become very shaky, because you are still clinging to a false center. That false center depends on others, so you are always looking to what people are saying about you. And you are always following other people, you are always trying to satisfy them. You are always trying to be respectable, you are always trying to decorate your ego. This is suicidal. Rather than being disturbed by what others say, you should start looking inside yourself… – Osho

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life

Jambalaya, Jumbleaya Week… (Whatever)

My defenses become fences; Now, I’m stumbling, I change my faces, and if you think I’m fake-up, wait around ’til I take off my make-up. – Tricky (Christiansands)

  • A few minutes ago, a prodigal son sent me this message, “Hey V, what’re you up to this evening?”  My mind ran through a multitude of responses. Now that I’ve finished week two of my non-drinking plan, I debate and often decline night-time invitations, especially since they always involve bars, happy hour or overactive social situations. The reality of my Monday morning 6am rise made it very easy to resist a Sunday night invitation, but pretty soon, it’s going to be crucial to hop back into the social saddle again. And then what? (For the record, I will imbibe again, jut not in the mood now).
  • My student M told me that he’s 33 years old and needs to start a family with his wife, but he hasn’t been able to. (Honestly, my students tell me too much). When I asked him why he doesn’t have kids since he wants them so much, he told me that he doesn’t get any “nighttime opportunities.” When I probed him further about “nighttime opportunities,” it turned out to be his code words for sex. I guess he thought saying the word sex would sound too crass. He, I, and a few others now, have started using the term “nighttime opportunities.” It sounds lovely doesn’t it, and so much easier to hear, “Nighttime opportunities haven’t been forthcoming.”
  • It may be impossible to gain weight in Tokyo. I’m not sure why, since we eat an obscene amount. Actually, I do know why, the portion sizes are right. Our plates are always what Goldilocks was looking for– just the right amount. LD introduced me to Mucho, the Mexican restaurant in the Tokya Building (across from the Tokyo International Forum), and I went twice this week. Not sure if the food or service is better (especially the server George), because they’re both stellar (maybe the service is better, ’cause George is adorable).

* Squid tacos. The Japanese have a way of making Mexican healthy; the tacos are served with no sour cream, shredded cheese, or guacamole, yet they’re delicious.

  • Do you remember my friend B from an earlier post, appropriately titled “Food Fest?” Every restaurant that I love in Tokyo, he’s introduced me to; however, his one true love, ramen, had never become a favorite. Never hit the spot. Whenever we were walking home, debating where to eat, he’d suggest ramen, and I’d throw out other options: Brozer’s burgers, McDonald’s, Indian, Nepalese, etc. Ramen never really did it for me, until now. We went to a restaurant in Ningyocho that had ridiculously good spicy broth, thin ramen noodles, slivers of pork and huge strips of seaweed. I’m a convert.

  • Takashimaya is like what Macy’s must’ve been  one hundred years ago (or whenever it was founded). There are women in uniforms, white gloves and hats, pressing the elevator buttons for customers. There are also elevator ladies/girls in uniforms pressing the buttons for each floor and alerting the customers when one’s floor’s been reached. It’s beautiful and super-expensive, and the only thing I can afford in there is an occasional lunch in the basement level food bazaar. We need to treat ourselves, don’t we? (My bento box had shrimp, scallops, pasta with truffles, lasagna, two pieces of boiled potato, and chick peas with scrambled eggs. Check out the portion sizes though, it’s perfect.

* My Takashimaya dessert, berry berry shortcake.

  • Since I’ve shared so much with you about growing my hair out naturally, I think I should also share that I’m taking a break from the twists and braids and all those styles, and blowdrying it straight for a while. Well, not me, China at Hayato is doing it. Chemicals are a no for me, but the three hour shampooing/conditioning/blowydrying/flatironing process is a definite yes for now. As I told you in an earlier post, the frizziness, and general hard to comb-ness (in a country where it’s so hard and/or expensive to get black hair care products) was getting to me. It’s not as deep as some may think (and who cares what others think really?); for the moment, it’s easy.

  • I’ve been subscribing to messages from Brahma Kumaris for some time now, and they’re always so on point and timely that I know they’re divine. Check out the latest:

Your thoughts guide you to your destiny; if you alway think in the same way, you will alway get to the same place. Think in a new way and you will be a new person. Create peace in your mind, and you will create a world of peace around you.

(On that note, I’m happy with this life, today I’m happy with me, I want you to be happy too). Have a good week!

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life

I Want to Say “Ooh I Knew You Were The One”

Dear Friends,

I must tell you what’s been going on in Suitengumae (my ‘hood); I’ve been listening to Dolly Parton, Chicago and Prince on heavy rotation, because my mind’s wavering between wanting an exclusive love or having sex without emotions behind it. I’m tired of waiting for that elusive one, so why not settle for the other? Don’t judge, the days are long, but my mind tells me life is short and I’m grown.

My mood, as aforementioned, has been bordering on blah… sorry, over the cliff of blah… okay, over the cliff bitchy. (I had to send my mother an apology via email at 4:30am, because I realized I snapped at her via email, and she was only being her sweet self). It struck me almost a week ago that I make regrettable decisions while under the influence of Suntory whiskey (the drink of choice), so I told my friends I’m on a drinking hiatus. They reacted strongly, and if WordPress would allow me to upload video for free I’d show you a clip of LD filming me with my phone, saying, “Drink up Val.” However, back to the point, I fooled around a bit with a guy that I’ve known a short time, while under the influence, and that shouldn’t have happened.

I don’t regret the fooling around, ’cause as I told VPL  I’m like a starving woman in the desert who was just offered a glass of water (and a slice of watermelon– Water, and food water!). What I do regret is that the situation is one I’ve found myself in before. Another unavailable guy. My conscious mind told me the very next day, “Wouldn’t it be nice if you actually met someone who’s free? Who really likes you?” Yet, my subconscious, in my dreams two nights ago, asked me “When’re we gonna do that again V?”

I feel time is moving fast, and before I know it a decade will have gone by and I’ll think, “What the hell happened? I’m now an old hag.” For friends and family to tell me to wait is besides the point, it’s not about patience, it’ about figuring out why patterns are repeated, and why I only like emotionally or physically unavailable guys. Something’s that cute at twenty, and interesting at thirty, will be just plain sad at forty. (Btw, let’s never speak about forty. That’s gonna be a scary birthday,  and I’d like to be heavily medicated on that day– preferably with a needle of botox on my bedside table). My life is full, I have friends, a job I love, interests, but I want to be fulfilled in every aspect of life.

This week, I got these messages by email:

“Are you still misbehaving?”

“You’re the one that got away.”

To those messages, I came to the conclusion that men are physically unable to like me when I’m within fifteen miles of them, but when I’m in another country, they think “Oh that Val sure was fun.” Maybe, I’m one of those things best seen or imagined from a distance… a special kind of painting.

Sayonara,

Val

p.s I straightened, flatironed and cut my hair today… ’cause I needed a boost.

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*I’d cut some of it a few nights before in despair of the damaged ends and frizz. If you’re a black woman in Tokyo, go to Hayato in Roppongi (The Roppongi Tokyo Plaza). Sweet and amazing staff. Ask for China.

p.p.s  excerpt of Prince’s “Adore”:

Until the end of time, I’ll be there for you 

You own my heart and mind, I truly adore you

If God one day struck me blind, your beauty I’d still see

Love’s too weak to define just what you mean to me

From the first moment I saw you (ooh) I knew you were the one

That night I had to call you I was rappin’ til the sun came up

Tellin’ you just how fine you look

In a word, you were sex

All of my cool attitude you took, my body was next

You made love to me like you were afraid

Was you afraid of me? Was I the first? Was I your every fantasy?

That’s why until the end of time, I’ll be there for you…

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life

“It’s Been Such a Long Time”

Tell me how long has it been?New Birth (It’s Been Such a Long Time)

Dear Friends,

It’s 1:30 am; it’s been too long… so, let’s have small (internet) talk. I’d like for us to be really in touch, so I’ve deactivated my Facebook account (temporarily), hopefully it takes this time (the fourth time’s the charm). It’s amazing how much free time can be spent “liking” photos and comments just to stay in touch or pass the time. I wish I were like those of you who can stay away from it by just not logging in. I wish I could come to it once in a while without drastic deactivations and such. I’m an extremist, and as Sacha told me this morning “a drama queen.” (Why are emails and phone calls now passé?). Kamali, (a friend who deleted her account years ago and never looked back– or did she just block me?), will serve as my inspiration.

The same old’s been happening here in Tokyo, or as I like to call her “My Toki”: insomnia, too much eating and drinking and spending, vows to cut down on too much eating and drinking and spending and being laughed at by friends who say, “Again, Valerie?”, growing boredom by a lack of direction, contentment with my new place (it’s oh so private, as the housemates must be in hiding), Tokyo’s insane grip on winter and refusing to give in (though I hear the last of the cold days will end tomorrow– a whopping 70 degrees– don’t ask for celsius), teaching some great people (my student today told me that he started cooking after one of our classes about budgeting– Ha! As if I know the first thing about saving money), a growing relationship with my “natural” hair (we’re now in the stage where I can barely tolerate her), a growing relationship with my bike Lucy (I’m still in the stage where I’m insanely in love with her and the time she saves me in the morning), constant promises to myself to be productive (told my student Toshi today I’d buy sneakers and start running– he runs 20 miles twice a week), trying to find Japanese classes (maybe not actively enough as it’s so easy to get by without it– the whole nod and point works here), and revising my life. When I say, I’m revising my life, as per usual, I’m pretending things never happened– take for instance, a much earlier post about “a crush.” I’ve deleted the post, and am only a thought away from erasing it from my mind. Yay to revision!

*We’re almost there.

* My new room, albeit a bit small, serves as a great space for get togethers.

* Real ramen, it ain’t your Cup o’ Noodles.

*Trying to see some blooming cherry blossoms in Yoyogi Park– under the illusion it was spring, but all we were doing was freezing our fingers off.

 * The guy in the yellow tracksuit had a funny t-shirt on (he was a character), but Of course I can’t remember what it said, and I’m not on Facebook to check. The withdrawal’s already started.

Tomorrow’s an early start and a long day, so I’m off to sleep (hopefully), but we’ll talk– “I’ve been missing you.”

Ciao,

Val

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