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Thursday, December 21, 2023

Lyrics Carried Within (4of4)

And I finally come to the end of this little series of showcasing some of my all-time favorite lyrics that speak for and about me and what I'm for.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is a song I've always loved and don't get tired of. I could say it's #2 in my top favorite Christmas songs. I appreciate how sanctuary and community-like it is. And how fitting that is for this time of year! But beyond that, I love how, despite its sentimentality, it is still grounded enough to recognize that there's a chance that paths will diverge. Yet, although that may be saddening, it's taken with acceptance while cherishing however long they will be together. As someone who avoids sappiness but is undeniably soft for faithful friends, I wholeheartedly resonate.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Capricorn's Basics

Transit Date: Late December.
Starting Winter.

Position: 10th.
Element: Earth.
Quality: Cardinal.

Symbolized by: The Goat.
Typically Associated with: Ambition, pragmatism, organization. 

At Best: Tenacious and accomplished.
At Worst: Impersonal and condescending.

For context and more of relevance, please read about The Zodiac.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

What About Your Legacy?

Maybe you don’t believe in the afterlife. Maybe what happens in life only matters to you while you’re alive. And if that’s how you are, that is valid enough. However, if you find yourself caring about what you could leave to others after you’re gone, then it’s worth pondering some more.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a theist, an atheist, or an agnostic. Regardless of any of that, you may or may not care about the long-lasting consequences that your actions could have.

You may be moved to highly ambitious goals. Not just in the service of yourself (your name, your image, and how you will be remembered), but in the service of others (a generous gift to them). What will it be exactly and in what measure depends, but it can be taken as your mark in history.

Alternatively, it may be simpler than that. Rather than going down in history as somebody noteworthy for a major contribution to the world or an area of it, you may instead be moved to help your family, your community, and others around you or that you choose in some significant manner.

This aim can push you forward to achieve and accomplish more than you would otherwise. As you’d no longer be living only for yourself and your brief life, but for more that goes beyond it. And if the idea of it is inspiring to you, then you’d know it is meant for you to pursue…

Points on Existentialism

 #1  If you are born and wired to do more than just exist, you will be venturing into answering unsettling questions about life - about its meaning and purpose. These can shake up and turn around your world, but suppressing them won’t do you much better.

 #2  It is by searching for the answers to your existence that you are able to unlock and unleash awareness of yourself, people, life, the world, and the universe. One question will lead to another as one answer will lead to another.

 #3  Once your perception and comprehension of existence is expanded and refined, it won’t go back to how it previously was (unless your brain is impaired in some way). In other words, you cannot unsee what you’ve seen. Often, the reluctance to learn is tied to the fear of forever losing what you’ve already conceived.

 #4  Not everybody has a grand purpose. Not everybody is full of meaning. And that’s just the way it is. There’s balance in the diversity of it. So rather than striving to be at the top in these aspects, you can strive to make the most of your existence as it’s meant to and that could be rewarding enough for you (so long as you do not let others’ insecurities and projections get to you).

 #5  You may believe that you are alone in questioning as much as you do, but you aren’t. These are simply topics that are not normally brought up unless you dwell within circles that regularly and openly discuss such matters.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour

So I finally got to watch this concert film! On December 13th, no less! Taylor Swift decided to release it to watch at home on her birthday and I'm so happy that she did! I missed my chance to see it in theaters, but I'd been wanting to watch it since the moment I first heard of it and upon seeing this astonishing trailer.

It's no secret that I greatly appreciate Taylor Swift as an artist. And from what I know so far about her, as a person too. So I was more than thrilled to enjoy this show from the comfort of my home. I knew it would be out-of-this-world inspiring and it was. You wouldn't believe how much, despite having gone a different route, I love performing arts and how fulfilling it is for me to witness it. And coming from Taylor Swift, there's so much heart, mind, and work put into it that it easily transports me to what I'd call a world of magic.

The fact that she combined all of the albums is so grand to me, too. I still remember the first time I heard You Belong With Me and how I thought it was somehow different from what I was used to but oddly catchy - and from there, the rest is history. I never got bored of Taylor Swift. I may not be following and keeping up with her every move, but I've been listening to her music throughout the years and am familiar enough with her work for this to be personally meaningful to me.

It is also quite bewildering to me because I remember so much from over the years and I hope I always do. I hope that my memory won't fail me because these are memories I wish to hold on to. There are countless special moments tied to songs that come back more vividly through them but also just moments of how it's been like to exist at the same time as her and witness (or catch glimpses of) her trajectory.

I remember liking her first songs while having no idea how big she'd one day be. I as well remember dedicating a few of her songs to close friends. I remember having my sense of wonder restored after having lost it almost completely because of how sentimental she was. I remember defending her from haters, offline and online, just because their arguments were so baffling to me. And then I remember purposely annoying others with her music because they were hating it for (IMO) no good reason (and sometimes I troll, I'm not saying you should too). I remember somehow entering the period of terrible relationships and drama and suddenly having too many of her songs fit (which was ironic to me). And despite not caring about famous artists anymore, she remained the one I kept wondering about as time went on. Ultimately, I remember hearing what I needed to hear right when I needed to. In between all that, I went from a casual enjoyer to someone with profound and immense respect and gratitude for her.

I also remember hearing her say, when she was much younger, that it would be lonely if she was in competition with all others. At the time, that amount of purity irritated me. But I'm glad I'm now where that makes perfect sense to me and I could not agree more.

I believe that, at this point, if you don't recognize Taylor Swift's genius and gifts, you're being a fool. Maybe willfully ignorant and in denial for some messed up reason. Though, of course, you're free to have preferences.

I had a grand and memorable day today as it was filled with outstandingly beautiful art. 💗

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Picking The Right Causes

Picking a cause can be tricky.

Usually, it is not a calculated choice but a calling upon being personally affected or having people close to you being affected by whatever wrong that should be righted. You experienced and/or witnessed something that put you on a path of caring about it. And the fact that you do, endows you with extra firmness and determination to stand up and fight for it.

When, instead, it is a calculated choice and you’re not strongly invested in it, you can still be of tremendous help to it, depending on your position to be of aid, but might not be as sacrificing when the moment comes to make hard decisions that will inconvenience you.

But as long as you’re making a positive and/or constructive contribution, do your motives really matter? Yes and no. Yes, they matter when they will dictate counterproductive behavior somewhere down the line and for understanding how much merit there truly is in it. And no, just because your motives aren’t 100% pure and selfless it shouldn’t completely invalidate your contributions and keep you from making more. But here’s a messy area of morals and ethics to untangle with each unique situation.

And how can you be sure that what you’re doing is right? You can’t always be. But you can keep aiming to do the right thing and continually inform yourself to further learn what that is.

Too often, people are misguided. They latch onto causes to fill a void, better their image, or as an excuse to be cruel while believing themselves justified. None of these are likely to end well. The cause or causes you live for should matter to you beyond yourself - whether you picked them with your heart, with your mind, or with both.

Some people are born and live through terrible circumstances that set them up to champion certain causes. But for some others, they may have to look around and dip their toes into different types of suffering to find the ones that resonate with them and that they can be moved into alleviating. For the latter, there’s the risk of choosing something shallow and making it clear to the world that they are out of touch with what is most important, that they have been privileged. But they must keep pushing for better if they are to be humanitarian.

Let’s never forget, however, that you do matter too. Being too self-sacrificing will only lead you to lose your ability to continue to be of assistance. You can be compassionate, but you must be wise as well. Thus, it is advisable to give from your abundance and not from your scarcity. To have limits on how much you let go of or go out of your way for others.

It is fine to have one or more causes dear to you even if they are not deemed a priority for most. As long as they are not ultimately vile. You can devote to those and then more if you can afford it. May be “what you were put on this earth for”.

Points on Activism

 #1  Taking action for a cause is something to take seriously. Both your mind and heart should be in the right place. And if not, at least try to make that something to work toward.

 #2  Indignation alone is not a reliable marker for which behaviors should or should not be accepted. Indignation can come from different places and most of them are not virtuous.

 #3  There is no one single and only way to further a cause, but you must at least revise your approach for how productive it is and how well it makes use of your position (your advantages and your privileges). It is also fine to refrain from participating at times, though you may be reprimanded for it.

 #4  Things aren’t black & white, there is nuance and context to consider. Oversimplifications and extremism do not lead to progress. Not everyone can be perfectly thorough and valid in what they think and feel, but you can at least make it a habit to question and keep yourself in check.

 #5  Many causes are worthy on principle but eventually get highjacked by mindless and/or heartless actors that ignore (or even deny) what it was supposed to be. We must continually steer things to get back on track.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

How Does Solidarity Matter?

Imagine a world without any solidarity. None. Zero. Would you like to live there? Could you even survive it?

It tends to be overlooked, but solidarity is what holds relationships, communities, and even societies together. Having the genuine desire to be helpful to the people close to you, to those around you, or to everyone you can. Being fulfilled when you are. Glad to make things easier or better for others, not only for yourself.

This automatically makes you a gift to the world - or at least to the lives of those you’ve shown solidarity towards. Whether that’s appreciated or not is another matter. And so is reciprocation. But ultimately, it is a deed regardless.

However, good intentions are not enough. You may have to look at what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, why you’re doing it, when and where, and for whom. And that’s a lot to consider. There are no quick and easy answers to ensure you’ll always get it right. But you can start by asking what you can do to help (to yourself and/or to whom it concerns). Then pay attention to what unfolds.

It is comforting to believe that the good you do will be returned to you. If not tenfold, then at least in the same amount. But that doesn’t seem guaranteed. It is true that goodness flows and goes back and forth, but sometimes it is sent where it gets lost or hits a dead end. It may reach a malfunctioning or disabled conduit. Perhaps one that twists or destroys it. This does not mean that you should stop trying, it just means that there are intricacies to take note of.

And if you’re somebody who is naturally solidarious, attempting to be selfish will kill your spirit. Instead, seek others who also thrive in solidarity so that you can be your best self.

There will still be people who’d rather compete than cooperate. And some friendly (or at least civil) competition is fine and can promote competency. But lending a hand, having each other’s back, and so on, can also go a long way and build competence as well.

Points on Kindness

 #1  Kindness is not the same as niceness. Niceness denotes the quality of being pleasant, cordial, amicable, and such. Kindness, while may manifest as such, it’s not necessarily nice. Kindness can be tough and rough, and maybe even appear cruel. But it’s still keeping the best interests at heart. 

 #2  People often feign kindness for the social benefits of being perceived as kind. And often, genuinely kind people are taken as fakers too. It may be out of projection (inability to comprehend genuine kindness and attributing one’s own motivations and intentions instead), or out of skepticism (due to previous experiences or simply learning to be wary). 

 #3  Genuinely kind people are also often accused of being naive - stupid even. But that may be far from true. They may simply refuse to give in to the machinations of an unkind world.

 #4  Kindness is still kindness even when some form of kindness is expected in return when it can be granted. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for being taken advantage of and walked all over. Abusers (and misguided folks) will tell you it’s selfish, but that’s a convenient oversimplification lacking relevant nuance and context.  

 #5  You can be a kind person and have days, weeks, months, or even years when you don’t have much to give. It can happen to even the best of us. And it’s okay to receive kindness and focus on restoring your abundance before you give again.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Christmas Celebration

In December, we celebrate Christmas!

It is the holidays, time to wrap it up and be merry and bright.
Maybe you aren't a Christian, and that's fine.
You can still enjoy what Santa brings or do your own thing.
What's important is to give yourself a break.
And share with others if you can.

Winter Season

In December, get ready to welcome the arrival of Winter!

Winter is the fourth season in the cycle. Considered a season of hibernation. 
It is when the cold finally sweeps in, possibly to a freezing degree. 
Being icy and sharp, forcing you under layers and layers of fabric, 
it invites you to be close to others or to hide away. 
Make the most of it before it all ends.

During this season, we are pushed to conclude and rest to be set for what's next.