In case you were wondering, the bigg ass party I threw a couple days ago was a deafening success. A lot of people came out, and I'm confident to say that the immense majority of attendees had a great time. Everything ran smoothly and according to the plan. Everyone cared impeccably for the jobs they were assigned to, and we didn't have to deal with any sort of unexpected troubles. It was all in all, an amazingly fun night.
Sadly though, when it finally came the time to count the profits, we got ourselves involved in a disgustingly huge argument against a third party who had in a way, contributed to our cause. The argument itself was over a technicality that had absolutely no effect on anything
, yet the whole thing was blown out of proportion. I'll keep the details to myself, but that night for the first time ever, I faced a disagreement that I could not manage to solve through calm and logical reasoning. It just could not be done. Shit got ugly, so I ended up giving up any hope of conciliation and simply walked away. Defeated.
For the last couple of days I've revisited that event countless times. I've gone through it over and over again in my head, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it did take a toll on me. Never had I ever been verbally (and somewhat physically) bullied with such tribal rage that dialogue was simply not an option. It was ridiculous as it was unnecessary.
At any rate, I've thought long and hard about the different processes that ignite this sort of situations; and about the possible approaches I could have taken to diffuse it. In the end, I came up with nothing. Everything I could have done, I did: no yelling, recalling of facts, passive tone, remaining calm and polite at all times, possible solutions and clarification of actions been taken in good faith. Yet nothing. But anyways, whatever. I won't go into it and what's done is done.
However, my question is, how do you deal with someone that
close minded without getting angry? There is no way. Basic education and respect defeat any sort of cultural disagreement; so that's a given. You simply can not deal with someone who is stubbornly closed to any negotiation or solution. Which leads me to the next relevant question: how do you deal with someone who thinks differently than you, without getting angry? I did a lot of reading and finally found someone who said it in such a clear and concise way, that even attempting to paraphrase it would dishonor the original text. Here it goes:
"As a therapist, I can tell you that when most people share something with you, what they really want is to be listened to. It's almost the entire reason my profession exists in the first place. Humans tend to be poor listeners overall. We're always far too busy in our own heads to really take the time to understand someone else's world view and yet one of the things we so crave is simply to be heard and understood by another.
Isn't that on some level what you yourself are seeking in questioning your significant other? If you're being honest, on some level don't you want your significant other to understand your skepticism and why you are skeptical? Don't you want him / her to understand why you value critical thought and what it can potentially add to their life?
The problem is that so frequently in conversation, we're so concerned with being listened to or understood ourselves, that we neither listen to nor understand, the person we are having a conversation with (and they notice this).
As Joseph Goldstein points out "your thoughts about your mother, are not your mother". Neither are your thoughts about your significant other, your significant other. Regardless of how confident you are that you know your significant other, the reality is, you cannot know the internal workings of another. Ever. Under any circumstances. The closest you can come to knowing another is done by listening and seeking to understand. As long as you continue to insist that others know you, you cannot get even the smallest of glimpses into the world of another.
When you challenge what someone says who is sharing something with you, what you are often subtly communicating in the exchange, is that you are smarter, better, or that your point of view is somehow more important than theirs is. It also communicates to the other person that you haven't really understood them. When someone shares something with you, even if that something is a problem they are experiencing, they're generally not looking for solutions (or your opinion). What they generally want is simply to be understood, and it's both a rare and kind individual that can accomplish this.
When you seek to understand the worldview of another (regardless of whether or not you agree with it), without inserting your own worldview, it communicates that the way they see the world is important to you. It also communicates that they as a person are important to you. When you listen well and thoroughly to others, without demanding that they understand you, on the occasions you choose to share your perspective, because the other person feels well understood by you, they are more likely to take what you have to say under consideration.
Just because one is skeptical or has a secular worldview, does not mean that person is any less subject to cognitive biases than those who are not. In fact research done on cognitive biases has indicated that knowing what cognitive biases are makes one no less prone to committing them than one who isn't. Armed with that knowledge, it is more prudent to recognize that you may be wrong about a great many more things than you realize, and that giving others the grace to share their worldview with you, may make you less blindly committed to your own intellectual short-comings, even when you yourself are unaware of what those short-comings might be.
Believing in the supernatural does not make a person less smart than you. It also doesn't mean that you aren't committing logical fallacies or falling prey to your own cognitive biases. Listening to others thoroughly, without requiring or demanding that others or the world understand you, frees you to recognize your own diminished capacities before you verbally vomit all over others with them.
In terms of the practice of Buddhism, I would argue that it is the troublesome self that so desperately demands that the world understand us anyway. We have no right to expect that it does, and yet we do, and we tend to behave like spoiled children when we feel like it doesn't. In this way, listening is also a practice in helping one see the transitory and fleeting nature of self, as listening is inherently an activity that, by definition, has nothing to do with self."
And that is how you deal with someone who thinks differently than you without seeming arrogant.
Bows to you, smokeinhiseyes
Not too long ago I was shown a video of a girl talking about herself.
"Well, no shiiiit", I know, I know. Bear with me here.
The video lasted around two minutes, and it styled a girl I know repeatedly blabbing oddities about her extravagant personality. They ranged from her taste in men to her inability to complete simple math equations, and I'll have to admit it was pretty damn entertaining. Each statement was prefaced by a "well, what else can I tell you about myself?", followed by that infamous over the top raise of the brows that usually accompanies the legendary duckface. It was exactly what could result of Sofia Vergara taking selfies. I mean, it's kinda hard to explain, but shit, was it funny. Anyways, whatever, moving on.
After watching the video numerous times and learning the words by heart, Catalina
(amidst laughs) commented on how she wouldn't even be able to come up with so many facts about herself that quickly. I thought about it for a second, and neither could I. Not under two minutes at least.
So with that said, I decided to break the two minute rule and devote some time to answer the same question. Well, what else can I tell you about myself?
- I hate numbers but I'm good with them and that sucks.
- I travel a lot, and although I'm not good at many things, I'm a G when it comes to going through airport security.
- I guard my sugar intake like a hawk.
- I put way too much importance on people's taste in music.
- I have an addictive personality so I deliberately stay away from shit I like.
- I drink whisky with no ice.
- I drink cheap whisky with plenty of ice.
- I love video games, but I haven't played one in years.
- I used to not give a shit about what I said online but now it's too public and it sucks a bit.
- I like skinny girls.
- I read every night.
- I can not draw anything for the life of me.
- My handwriting is not pretty.
- I always had good grades but some of them I didn't deserve.
- I keep a real physical journal that I carry around.
- When I drink, I over eat. And I'm aware of it and I keep doing it. akdfdsfasdjasjkfj
- I have a close and healthy relationship with my family.
- I don't watch as many movies as I should.
- I've never gotten into a fist fight and I doubt I will.
- If involved in a fist fight, I would probably lose.
- I make decisions quickly. It's good and bad.
- I love soccer but I'm not as good at it as I'm at cycling.
- I really like broccoli.
- I have to remind myself sometimes that I'm not better than anyone and it's embarrasses me.
- I have tattoos and I love them.
- I'm going to Law School.
- I don't look like a tattoo person when I wear a suit.
- I get uneasy about, and around housekeepers.
- I drink Coke Zero.
- I want to move back to Colombia but it probably won't happen in the next 5-6 years.
- I can be an asshole sometimes.
- I'm not stubborn about apologizing.
- In high school I made fun of a kid behind his back. He was a good kid, too.
- I practice olympic lifting but there's this one particular movement I know I'm doing wrong.
- I like .gifs of animals doing cute things.
- I don't make fun of chubby girls as much as people think. I don't do it at all. Almost.
- I can run pretty fast and for a pretty long time.
- I'm throwing a big ass party
and I'm kinda nervous about it getting out of hand.
- Everything I need to live, work and survive fits in one bag.
- I'm good about managing my money. Except for that one time. I will not elaborate.
- I look like an idiot without a beard. People that know me agree.
- I've never sent back a meal or made a fuss at a restaurant. And I assure you I never will.
- I did start writing that book, and I'm pretty excited about it.
- I'm moving to New York City.
Perhaps the greatest faculty our minds possess is the ability to cope with pain. Whether it is through resting, distracting, deceiving or forgetting; there will always be a way for us to overcome, even if just a little while, the various types of suffering that come our way. Because of this, I believe the saying 'time heals all wounds' is false. Yes, time heals most wounds, but the rest just remain hidden, dormant along all those things we know but just wish we didn't.
And that's why I was so glad and surprised and amazed when I saw her turn her head to look at him, almost as if she were surprised to see him sitting there. She, one who carried with her so much of that luggage that needs to be forgotten. One who had suffered so much that had probably already forgotten how to feel anything else. There, looking right at the kid that for so long craved for nothing else but the chance to drive all the pain away from her.
No, not even that. It was almost as if up until that point, he’d just been occupying space around her, like a piece of furniture. But this time when she looked at him, she took all of him in. His scruffy hair, the line of his jaw, the span of his shoulders beneath his shirt. This time when she looked, she actually saw him.
Let me say this. It was worth the whole awful, irritating time spent in that high school math class just to watch that moment happen as my young self. It was worth blood and gold to see her fall in love with him. Just a little. Just the first faint breath of teenage love, so light she probably didn’t notice it herself. It wasn’t dramatic, like some bolt of lightning with a crack of thunder following. It was more like when flint strikes steel and the spark fades almost too fast for you to see. But still, you know it’s there, down where you can’t see.
At some point during my last layover in Bogotá, I might or might have not misplaced the key to my room. Frustrated, I stood in front of the door for what could've been 30 minutes, searching once and again for the damn access card. I looked inside every pocket and crevice within my wallet and pants, I looked inside the bag I carried with me and I even looked through the hallway to make sure I had not dropped it. I knew I had it with me, I swear, so I was not about to call the front desk and ask for assistance. It simply wasn't a possibility.
At last, I decided to take a break from the, until then, fruitless search, and figured to just sit against the wall opposite to the door. I popped open a bag of gummy bears that had found its way into my messenger bag and remained silent through the entirety of it. Then right there, as I chewed through the limbs of helpless colorful cubs, I pondered about the series of bad decisions that had led me to that point in life.
Mind you, this happened the morning after a glass or two of cheap hotel wine. And when I say a glass or two, I'm just letting myself remain a glamorous gentleman: wine was had.
I stared at the door and thought about the things it represented. A flat, unintelligent, unartistic slate of wood that prevented people from crossing from one area to another. From entering things. From getting to have a better look at something or someone. Then I thought about all the non-material notions of it. Imaginary doors. Things we can't do, places we can't go, decisions we can't make, or feelings we can't have. Eventually I managed to find the access card. Alas, it was inside the room. Sitting in the ice compartment of the mini fridge. So yeah, funny things, doors.
Often we hear people quote that asinine metaphor regarding life, referencing doors that arbitrarily open and close for us. It's something like, "when one door closes, another one opens", or some cheap shit like that. Maybe it's windows. Or hatches. Or I mean, whatever, I'm sure you've heard about it at some point or the other. With that said, I want to take a second to share my two cents regarding the inner workings of said maxim.
I think it's rubbish. No, really. Fuck everything about that.
The recurring notion of accepting that some things can, and can not happen in our lives is something I am absolutely against. Not in the, "you can be anything you want if you work hard for it!" kind of way, because that's rubbish too. If you were born poor in a family that did nothing for your education, your chances of becoming president are as good as mine are of becoming a dolphin. So no, not like that. I'm taking about the specifics. Things that fall inside your realm of possibilities. Maybe it's getting a certain job, doing well in a particular exam, or having that girl to finally go out with you. You know, the little things.
So, why on earth should I let a "door close" on me, when more often than not it's something that can actually be changed? Plant your foot on the freaking door. Maybe you can't be an astronaut, but you might be able to do something about your grades, which will in turn land you a good internship, thus increasing your chances of getting a better job. I took an oath to stop thinking like that, and rework that stupid quote that has kept people in a preposterous circle of mediocrity and helplessness for quite a long time now.
So well, when one door closes, you're gonna be damn sure that I'll stand in front of it, pounding, until whatever made it close decides to let me in.
I kinda like that version better.
Levantarte. Dar vueltas en la cama haciendo los sonidos que hacen los perros cuando quieren decir algo pero les da pereza abrir el hocico. Suspirar y finalmente rendirte al hambre. Comer cereal azucarado. Quedó leche en el fondo, obviamente no se puede perder. Figuró rellenar el plato con más cereal azucarado. Buscar el celular para mirar quién, y qué sucedió en internet desde que te quedaste dormido viendo series. Recordar que tenías el computador en la panza. Desbloquear el celular. Cerrar todas las apps. Abrir unas cuantas apps. La misma niña te likeó tres fotos. Las fotos no son recientes. Ja, campeón.
Le mandas un mensaje para darle los buenos días. Rutinario. En alguna otra ciudad del mundo, ella se levantó un poquito más temprano porque su vecino estaba acariciando la pared de al lado. Con un taladro. A las 9:30AM. Se levantó ofuscada.
Distancia. Es como siempre estar bien, pero siempre estar mal. Así como tener muchas peleas y muchas alegrías, pero con menos intensidad y menos de esa salsa rica que le echan a las hamburguesas en McDonald's. Es como tener Alzheimer's. Te sirven las piernas, los brazos, los ojos, el corazón. Pero cada día te dan menos ganas de usar las piernas, los brazos, los ojos, el corazón. Conoces, pero en realidad no conoces. Ah, verdad que me habías contado que ibas a hacer eso hoy. Se me había olvidado.
Hablan tres cosas. Entras a la ducha. Le contestas. Lavas los platos. Le contestas. Te lavas los dientes, arreglas la cama. Le contestas. Haces café, lees tu lista de Twitter, metes una camisa en la secadora, alguien te comenta en Instagram así que miras tus últimas 4 fotos de nuevo, le quitas las cositas amarillas a los audífonos, llamas a tu papá, archivas emails, escribes emails, se te borra un email. Se hicieron las 5PM.
Sorry. Estaba hablando con mi papá.
Let's talk about happiness, and its ever changing, dynamic, double-sided, backstabbing definition.
At some point in my life, it meant good grades and validation from my elders. It meant being praised by my ability to follow directions and perform well in assembly line-type tasks. Then it meant validation from my peers. Not being an awkward kid. Getting noticed by girls. Sharing the oh-so-good taste of everyone my age and being acknowledged for it. A couple years ago, it meant the perfect harmony between academic stability and the enrichment of my personality through new relationships and experiences. Or in simpler terms, getting wasted. Acting my part as a cocky juvenile. Being a little shit whilst not failing in school. At last, until not too long ago, it meant securing financial stability through an occupation I enjoyed. Wearing a skinny suit to work. Accommodating some travel here and there. Eliminating debt. Picking up bar tabs because I could. Nice.
Except last week my boss made me fire a girl because she had gained weight, and she didn't "convey the image our company is trying to establish".
Yeah, talk about dream jobs in advertising and shit.
Anyways, at some point while browsing the internet last week, I came across one of those cheaply made motivational posters that we've all seen so often. It styled a picture of a young girl blowing on a dandelion, and a cheesy ass maxim about how happiness is not the destination but the journey. You know, the usual. Yet, for the first time ever, it struck me just how inevitably complex and insightful that maxim really is; and how the accessibility of media has dumbed it down to a mere poster made by a high schooler who probably wants to impress a girl with his unoriginal ideas. Just like me, at some point.
Maybe happiness is not the destination. I guess that after a simple analysis of how often our definition of happiness is changed, we can arrive to that conclusion fairly quickly. Well, perhaps happiness is not the journey either. Because I sure as hell didn't feel happier waiting tables, cleaning glasses at a bar, or cramming up for a Public Sector final opposed to reaping the rewards of said tasks. Fuck the journey. The journey sucks, yet it's necessary. It make you tough and teaches you shit, but I'm pretty sure there's more happiness in getting my rewards than in the pure joy of working hard for something.
There, I said it, and if you don't agree then you're a filthy liar.
So if it's not the journey or the destination, maybe happiness is just the vessel you choose for that journey. The way you travel. Wearing comfortable shoes, branding a smile, and knowing that you might as well whistle and hop along the path than bitch about how life is just so hard right now. Maybe happiness has absolutely nothing to do with the journey or the road, but perhaps the playlist you made to listen on the way there. And of course, my destination will vary. Wanting different things at different points can only be evidence of change; and that, being the form following the function, can mean growth.
In short, I'm quitting that shitty job and opening a company.
The other day I was riding my bike to the mid-week farmer's market, located a couple blocks from my place downtown. It was chilly but sunny, but windy, but warm. The perfect riding weather. Geared up my shades, fired up my Sunny playlist, rolled up the right bottom of my pants to avoid any grease stains, and set out. Feeling the breeze through your ears, your tameless hair falling in rhythm and just sitting back, watching things happen around you that would otherwise be invisible, had you chosen to drive. The whole experience is probably one of my favorite things in the entire world.
Later that night I went out for a drink with two of my buddies, and was narrating just that. How much I enjoyed the beautiful simplicity of being out and about. Upon finishing my recount, one of them asked me, "it's a pity that some people never get to experience this", he paused, took a sip of his drink, and continued, "a blind man will never get to experience such thing. Same as a deaf person will never enjoy music." We all remained silent for a couple of seconds, but eventually changed the subject to more juvenile matters until the end of the night.
However, something did stick from what he said. How do you explain scenery to a blind man? Music to a deaf person? I might be selfish for thinking it can be done, so I'll give the latter shot, and you guys be the judges.
Picture the rain.
Music is standing naked in the rain, and feeling every subtle variation in intensity, tempo, and rhythm on your skin, the alternations of temperature in the raindrops, and smell of cool fall air mixing with lush aroma of the green forest floor.
Music is this experience, as delivered by another conscious being whose only goal is to play a symphony of sensation on your skin; to make you feel sorrow with the chill and ceaseless downpour of a grey February afternoon like this one, or to make your heart race with the inspiring, humbling power of a thunderstorm in the height of summer that defies the heat and the sun for one brief morning.
Music is the simultaneous confluence of the thunder you feel in the air, the gust of cold breeze that makes your hairs stand up on end and your blood surge in response, and the feeling of being drenched, even though you've just done your hair and dressed for an evening out. Music reaches down deep inside you, and reminds you that at your core you are a slave to sensation.
And you like it that way.
If you'd live somewhere cold, you'd know.
Go out in the early days of winter, after the first cold snap of the season. Find a pool of water with a sheet of ice across the top, still fresh and new and clear as glass. Near the shore the ice will hold you. Slide out farther. Farther. Eventually you'll find the place where the surface just barely bears your weight. There you will feel what I felt. The ice splinters under your feet. Look down and you can see the white cracks darting through the ice like mad, elaborate spiderwebs. It is perfectly silent, but you can feel the sudden sharp vibrations through the bottoms of your feet.
That is what happened when she smiled at me.
I've been writing way to much serious shit in this blog, so let's talk about my house in Colombia. And geckos.Oh, motherfuckin' geckos.
Don't get me wrong, it's not an infestation. All in all, there's like, 3. If anything, what we do have up here in spades is mosquitoes. And as our house is rather large with many windows, they find their way indoors. Those bastards, albeit frightening to find them at times, are my last line of defense to a histamine party all up in my system.
There was one time, however, that one of those bastards was crawling along the edge of my bed. He vanished before I could vacate him from the premises, and figured he just returned to his dark little corner to hide away. Cool, I thought.
Then I felt something on my shoulder. Glance over and there he is, giving me an 2-eye staredown that honestly made me question who was in charge of this situation here. Sampson walked straight up on Goliath, after all. This wasn't all that wonderful for me. But, as a gecko pacifist, I found myself at an impasse. I certainly couldn't go and grab something and I sure as hell wasn't squashing him then and there. I did the only rational thing: I flicked him.Except the fucker grabbed onto my flicking finger mid-flick and held on like a survivor in a tsunami.
I don't think I've ever gone more middle-school squeal mode faster in my life. If that fucker had mass, I would have thrown him through multiple walls. From then on out, it was a full-bore one-armed-man manhunt through the room until I found him and exterminated him with extreme prejudice.
You know, after I was able to convince myself it was okay to walk back to that side of the house. I'm pretty certain CERN wants to talk with me about how I was able to phase-shift my molecular being across that large of an expanse, but I can't be assed to recreate the situation.
Other than that, I enjoy geckos.
Imagine a day in the life of someone great.
Imagine waking up, and unknowingly going about living a life in a world that's rounded up in your favor. Girls giggle when they see you, guys want to be around you, kids look up to you and old people see you from afar and think about what it could've been had they been three decades younger. Imagine a day in the life of someone that only knows how to smile and make people smile. Knowing that a couple dozen times a day, someone, somewhere, is thinking, "I feel like talking to X".
And when I say "great" I don't mean beyond average intelligence, athletic ability or advanced technical skills. Those are just extras. When I say "great", I mean a person that will give you the better side of the pizza without thinking, the glass of soda that's a little more full, or take the seat in the middle before everyone starts arguing about how they are not sitting in the middle. Someone that tries to round up the world in your favor every chance they get, and in turn, everyday the world gladly smiles back to them.
Having your credit card decline the day school tuition is due really has to suck, but it's not a problem. Having your car break down and realizing you can't afford to fix it is something that will probably make you scream in anger, but it's not a problem. Getting dumped by the pretty girl because you don't make enough money might strike your self-esteem, but again, it is not a problem. You know what's a problem? Losing someone great. Having to put out one of the few candles that bring light into your life. That is a problem. A real, heart crushing problem.
In reality, I don't have to imagine a day in the life of someone great. Because every time I saw him, he'd make me and the rest of the world feel like wewere the special ones.
Forever in my heart as truly one of the greatest people to ever cross my path.
I will miss you so fucking much, Andy.