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Archive for April, 2010

One of my friends said to the other, talking about me:

“This is why JP is not so suicidal now, or as hard on himself.
He is not trying to BE SOMETHING HE IS NOT
that’s when he was suicidal.”

If you look back over the history in my blog (or just take my word for it), you’d see that much of the last six years I’ve felt very unhappy.  Yes, I’ve more than ‘merely considered’ suicide many times.  And my friend had a really good point.  Why am I feeling happier now?  (and not just “self controlled” or “satisfied”)  One of the big things that allows me to feel easier is that I’m not trying to be something I’m not.

When I saw the truth of his comment the other night I decided to take this further.  I realize that a lot of my transgender issues are a real push/pull either/or kind of thing.  In my interactions with people, it can create a private (or public) drama.  Obviously such drama lends a ton of spice to sexual relationships too.  However, I find there’s a lot of repression still involved in all of this.

Yesterday I changed my name legally.  After a year of going by different names, publicly and among friends, my sense of what a “name” means is pretty different.  Still I find I feel a bit “boxed in” calling myself my given boy name or I feel “boxed in” calling myself my feminine name.  I’m starting to lean towards preferring my Chinese name, which just means, “peaceful and really really white.”  I find a lot of transgendered people become total gender NAZIs after they shift over to their preferred role…  however, my own passion is about Freedom, not putting on a “better straight jacket.”

So that first night I just decided specifically not to repress or deny ANYTHING, even if it was uncomfortable, even if it seemed to “violate” some or another role or poke holes in my “better straight jacket.”  Anything goes was my rule as long as I had the honest desire to express that.  I think in many cases I’ve allowed myself to “choose freely” among known roles, or ways, or patterns or paths (even straight jackets).  However, I took the attitude to allow anything, even if it didn’t make sense, or felt like I’d be judged for it — anything.

Here’s what I found:

A depth of femininity that actually frightened me.  Blowing past all the superficialities I could call “feminine.”  To be honest, it scared the shit out of me even when I thought about it today.  Funny for someone who has fought pretty hard for my right to express femininity.

A solidity of masculinity, again, quite real and beyond superficialities.  Again, this makes me a bit nervous to feel it.

If I maintain a clear intention to do what’s authentically REAL, it certainly changes everything.  It was a pretty big step for me to just accept that eventually it would become glaringly apparent to me if I should get a sex change or not.  The only way I could possibly feel so calmly clear about it is if I’m not committed to forcing it one way or another.  In other words, it’s important to me and I know I’ll just do what I really want to do.

So I’m finally starting to make progress on the questions like, “do I practice law for money or go spend my time working like Mother Theresa?”  Even if I don’t know the answer right now, at least I am not forcing myself into something to please others or to fit into a role.  This feels a lot clearer, though I know I could still deceive myself.

At the root of a lot of all this trying to please people I can see the way I interact with my dad.  I can see myself making plans I know are good ones, and editing them or pitching them (to myself, to others, to everyone around me) to try and get approval.  It’s just like how I interact with him.  The trouble is my authentic intentions, such as my desire to open access to more things for more people, get lost in all this marketing.

I don’t need to feel like everyone around me thinks what I’m doing is okay.  I need to pick the best way to get what I want done and do it!  But even my writing in this matter still feels stilted and stuck to me.  I’m having trouble dealing with how I interact with him.  I haven’t found openness with it in myself yet.  And I don’t just mean when I’m around him, I mean the whole issue — you can move a thousand miles away from your parents and still live with them in your house, even after they’re long dead.  I hear thats what most people do.

Still, asking myself the question, “who am I?” seems to be helping.  I really want to know the answer.  As I look inwards to find that core, I feel I’m picking up some steam, gaining some grasp on the truth.  Even asking the question changes my entire focus.  It’s better to look and learn who and what I actually am than it is to try and be comfortable socially, or to make myself fit into patterns and roles I think I understand, where I feel “safe.”  I can sense a lot more power in my choices and my movements already.

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I have this habit, it’s a very bad one.  I’ve decided I need to face this since as long as the potential exists and I’m simply repressing myself, I haven’t actually dealt with the underlying issue.

Yesterday I was having around my family again and I got into an argument with my mom.  I truly felt she was being completely unreasonable about something and putting me into a very unpleasant bind.  However, the proper response would have been to ask for clarification, or to tell her that I felt she was presenting an impossible dilemma for me on something very important.

Instead I more or less reframed things in a way to place her in an impossible position, then she escalated the situation and I went for the jugular, saying things carefully as to leave her in tears, doubting her own self-worth (her particular weak spot).  I kept telling my dad to butt out, but his vocal observation at the time was that everything I said sounded fair.  Of course, I knew what I was doing.  Moreover, I intended it very cruelly at the time.  Later that evening, she left church early because she felt completely sickened and unable to practice piano.

My Qi Kung teacher pointed this out to me as well.  One time I and my Kung Fu schoolmates were out at a bar.  Some guy walked by and was an ass to me.  I said and did a couple of perfectly “harmless and reasonable” things and he nearly assaulted me.  My intention being that the other school mates would probably stop it from going too far and I would press charges against him, screwing up his employment, his relations with his family, taking money away from him etc, etc…  My Qi Kung teacher called me aside and essentially said, “I know what you’re doing, stop it.”

Further, and addressing the point of my writing about all this, my teacher was able to show me why I do this.  The basic feeling I have is that nothing I say matters much to anyone.  I don’t really feel like I have any social power, or social worth, and I don’t feel like anyone would really give a damn what I feel.  Usually in arguments I find people are pretty reluctant to show that they give a damn what the other person feels, so I tend to sense a lot of things that confirm my suspicion.  So when I become convinced that someone steps on me, I often form the intention to destroy them completely, or at least strike their weakest point as hard as I can, and proceed based on that.  My basic feeling is that anything less just won’t be noticed.

Interestingly enough, after the conversation about the guy in the bar, because of the way my teacher presented the situation to me, I harbored a lot of hatred towards my teacher.  I took it upon myself to actually damage the form of martial art that he had spent his life and love developing, to poison it subtly and carefully after he was gone.  I didn’t reveal this directly to him for awhile, but I have had a way of simultaneously holding all my good motivations and bad motivations inside my mind without feeling too bothered by the conflict.  All the time.

I’ve improved this in the last few years, taking what’s arguably an even colder approach and weighing out the advantages of destroying them or hurting them versus keeping them as an ally.  I know that sounds sick, but in a lot of cases, if I boil it down and don’t give myself any quarter for what appears to be self control, that’s what I’ve done.  So progress, I guess, was dropping the intention to hurt my teacher’s art and seeing learning it properly as more worth my time.

Regarding my mom, I stepped away, had some hot chocolate and read some law books for awhile.  As I was reading I was thinking that as long as there’s a potential for this to happen, then whatever the underlying cause is, I haven’t addressed it.  So I went back to my mom and asked her to give me a chance to listen to her and not try to take what she’s saying in the context of all the opinions I’ve formed about her throughout the years…  to try and listen with new ears.

Of course, she appreciated this, but ten times more important to me is that I felt like I shifted at least some of the potential for this to happen between us.  In other words, instead of merely repressing my deep-seated disdain for her and acting polite (which I could make a cost/benefit analysis for and probably maintain for years), I actually think I started getting past some of the crap we’ve built between us.

Beyond the specific issue with my mom, I often struggle to feel enough security in my worth to others regarding things I might need or want, like employment or someone caring for me, or even my friends caring what I have to say, to cease to be such a calculating reptile about it.  In social reality I still tend to use all my intellect, creativity, friendliness, and insight to try and prove worth to my friends, family and people I meet.  And I frequently don’t trust people to listen to me or care about me at all on the merit of my value as a person.  Though recently I’ve been fortunate to have some friends that have shown me they do care on those merits alone.

I’ve been around both my mom and my dad lately and noticed my patterns with them;  now I also see how I’ve developed symbiotic relationships with many of my friends and social groups to give me support based on the fact that they all basically like the persona with which I try and garner value.  I take little and very cold solace in the fact that most people are engaged in some kind of tacit bargaining like mine.

I cherish freedom and one of the only things I think is unethical is controlling others.  But all that I’ve been talking about are forms of control and methods to try and subtly and quietly negotiate it behind someone’s back.  It makes me feel sick to think about my whole issue with this, the extreme ends of my reactions to insecurities as well as the everyday manipulations involved — a big chunk of my entire lifestyle is built around it!

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One:  You weigh out all the positives and negatives.  You try and figure out which decision is best.  My problem with this, aside from the fact that it’s a rather dry way to live a life, is that I cannot juggle so many variables.  In other words, when I’ve tried to make choices this way, I often find that my assumptions are flawed, or there were aspects of the choice I couldn’t forsee.  Also it’s pretty common for a situation to change drastically, after which all my previous reasoning can be totally useless.

Two:  You pick a path that has a strong “charge” that gets you excited, where your emotions are buzzing and you feel a ton of anticipation.  While this can seem like a better way to live, it requires that I totally gloss over the fact that the “charge” I feel in a particular direction might be attributable to my own neuroses.  Remember rule number one, everyone is wounded.  This applies to me too.  Following an emotional charge in this way is how most people end up in the same relationship again and again and again.

Three:  You choose based on the aesthetics of a particular way.  In other words, a path appears to be the most beautiful, or the most powerful choice.  I rate this method higher than the first two, however there are still a few big problems with it.  First, if many paths have the appeal of beauty to them, then I am left with no way of choosing.  Secondly, this method is still prone to the same objections as the other two.  It could appear beautiful to me because my habits of aesthetic are locked into some unhealthy patterns, or I could rate something as beautiful and have accounted for its qualities in error.

I have spent my life making choices based on combining these three approaches.  And in so many instances, many of my choices were no better than a coin flip.  Worse, in a lot of cases I was committed to paths because of my own emotional wounds that generally produced worse results than a coin flip…  as in the case of getting myself into the same relationships or the same situations over and over and over again.

Following the heart seems to be the core of the two religions I’m most familiar with, Buddhism and Christianity.  It’s also advocated by great warriors of history.  Simply put, if I am certain I am taking the path that my heart truly wants, then I cannot be deferred, and mundane factors simply don’t matter to me (and there are such hardships in any path in life — probably more so in many purely chosen paths).  Moreover, even if I’m killed or otherwise prevented by circumstances, I’m still following the truest path I can take.  In other words, that kind of clarity is impossible to defeat.

I mean, put simply, if you know damned well you are truly following your heart, are you going to be deterred?  For me it wouldn’t matter if I knew I was supposed to go to India, to the place where mother Theresa did her work and just spend my life there, or if I were to become a lawyer or a forestry service officer or a teacher.  Given real clarity in the matter, most of the fears that drive everyone’s choices become irrelevant.

Yet the art of finding such clarity is hard to develop!

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For many years I have had the gift of being able to think possibilities out very realistically.  In Qi Kung, as an example, this has prompted my teacher to say, “you’re too smart” because I can often get the feel or the trick to doing a Kung Fu skill even before my body is strong enough to do it.  Not everyone can do this, so I call it a gift.

In seeking to follow my heart, I have discovered a lot of usefulness to doubting things, and setting things aside.  For one thing, as I mentioned several posts ago, forgiveness allows me to let go of the past.  Regarding the future, I am finding I can doubt my assumptions and set aside plans and potential plans.  For one thing this lets me pick up one thing at the time and see it all alone.  For another thing I can bring myself more completely into the present this way.

And setting aside the past and the future seems to help to place myself into a possibility, to really see and feel the wholeness of it.  My imagination is stronger without so many pieces of my energy spread around pasts and potentialities.  I can also think more clearly and I feel more energetic and happy this way.

So, with all these tools, I’m working to notice what is a real and authentic inspiration of my heart, a true choice to follow.  One example I have is my vow a month ago to follow my heart, my vow of allegiance to the peacefulness within.  I was clear in my intention, then I found my inspiration for the right way, and I have been absolutely convinced of the rightness of it every since.  There are many beautiful paths, but only some have that clarity of rightness.

And another.  I have succeeded in setting aside everything, and taking up the possibility of having a sex change.  I’ve always been good at intuiting experiences before having them, and I have been consistently right.  But adding the equanimity of the void and the deep sense of connection to everything has increased that.  Also, setting everything aside so deliberately to only pick the one thing up has made my skillfulness increase as well.  It is almost as if I can see and feel directly down that pathway of possibility pretty far into the future, with a kind of certainty I have never had (and as I said, I’ve been really good at that before).

The beauty of this is that now I can simply let the truth of that knowledge set.  Either I will set that path aside completely, or after a time I will feel certain that I want to do it and little will stop me.  However, the exact timing and conditions that would allow me to make that choice will not be before me for several months, so I don’t need to worry about it now.  This has the quality of rightness to it as well.  I like that it no longer feels like a quandry but more like a simple thing to relax about until certainty of choice is had in fullness of timing.

Again, I mean to write that more as an example, though I know its a very personal one to me.  My intention in this post is in gathering characteristics of seeing the way of my heart.  Because in reality there are so many beautiful or powerful choices and paths to take.

I can’t simply choose the way that looks best based on how much of a “charge” I feel unless I want to keep living a topsy turvy life of hit and miss.  Case in point, I chose my last girlfriend simply because we both felt a lot of “charge” and it seemed right.  I would have sworn that she was the one my heart truly wanted.  Of course, now I wouldn’t make that claim.

In retrospect I see that she could have been any number of men or women I would have experienced the same kinds of problems and heartbreak with.  I was just in a position to fall for someone like that.  Likewise, making choices based entirely on rationality is obviously dry and unbalanced.

So for now, I continue with the heart breathing meditation and I continue setting everything aside, I continue paying attention to the characteristics of something true.  I believe I can find the way to make the best choices, to follow my heart.

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One technique my Qi Kung teacher shared with me years ago, which I have employed many times is this.  If I’m doing something, and I keep doing it.  I like it.  Period.  Denying that I like doing it pushes the fact that I’m making a choice away from my consciousness and helps me stay locked into a pattern.

So with things I think I want to change or I believe I don’t like, I stop screwing around and just say “I like doing that.”  I say it to myself, and I say it to other people if the situation arises.  Keeps me from lying (and by God, even subtle tiny lies are insidious;  if I tell a lie three or four times, I’ve normally forgotten the truth by then).

For awhile, after reading some books by really passionate people who had pushed their consciousness further and further, I just said, “I don’t want to do that.  I’ll just keep living to serve whatever suits my fancy.”  I pretty much stated it that way.

Once I started stating that outright, it only lasted a couple of months or so.  Being honest about it gave me a chance to look at it, set it on the table, to be honest that I WAS actually just indulging in whim and petty fancy.  I was okay with it, and then I decided I wanted to change it.  And I began pressing further, choosing to be more honest, to be more genuine and to grow more than I was before.

So I’m doing this again, with some things that I habitually do and haven’t taken any real steps towards doing something different yet.  For now I’ll just state these things outright.

I like wasting time when I’m making decisions.

I like not making much money.

I like not following through on creative projects.

I like not going out and making new social connections.

I like not taking care of my health, or practicing my Kung Fu as I  Know I could.

I like avoiding being in the present.

Fuck yea, they’re habits and I’m comfortable with them.  For now.  We’ll see how long they last.  First I’m going to grasp them entirely, hold them, cherish my choices for what they are.  After that, some I may keep and some I may drop.

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Guidance?

One of the things that Myss talked about in her course was that the heart would give guidance if we paid attention to it.

If I put my attention in my heart, I feel equanimity.  Generally this gives me a lot of joy.  But I don’t feel any specific urges.  I do feel certain things I want and don’t want generally.  Some things that I know would be more right and some things I know would just waste my life and my energy.  But sometimes I feel like I could continually focus on my breath passing into my heart and eventually just wander out into the forest until I fell down from hunger and exhaustion and just be eaten by bears (I mean this as a bit of a joke, but equanimity isn’t really attached to anything).

Yet I find myself in situations where I need to make some decision (indeed even not deciding is a choice).  I focus inside my heart and I could sometimes start laughing, sometime just feel peaceful, or sometimes just know I am at home…  but how to make a choice?  Currently my choice is between more teaching abroad, or law school, or god knows what else…

So I try to be attentive, and think things through clearly.  Certainly the equanimity of my heart directs me towards a clear mind.  Actually, today I even learned a little more how to allow expansion and contraction and maintain my attention on equanimity.  So I’m continuing to grow in this awareness, as I knew I would.

But I don’t have a compass inside.  One day I’ll feel like law school now is right, but then I look at the costs, and the fact that I neglected to apply to the better schools because I applied late, and I don’t know.  It’s not that I’m afraid of the debt, just that I don’t have clear determination.  Then I look at jobs in other countries teaching, and nothing is clear.  Some part of me has thought that maybe it’s just that going to law school in five months or doing it in another year or two is basically irrelevant.  Okay, I accept that’s a possibility.

So…  like…  do I then just choose whatever I think would be the most pleasurable?  Even looking with my brain, the center of my mind is empty as well, and I find a different sort of acceptance and peacefulness within there (discounting the little dust devils of thoughts that are constantly whirling around and around).  But what I don’t find is any clear pull, any clear compass inside me.

This is also becoming a bit of a problem when talking to people.  Occasionally it is clear that I need to say a specific thing.  For instance, my cousin asked me a direct question and I know for sure how I must answer him.  However, I also notice that if I put my attention in my heart, much of the time there is nothing crucial to say.

So in some of my conversations lately I direct my attention to what the person is saying and I notice that either I will feel I relate to something the person said, and respond passionately about something that relates to them.  Or else I’ll think about it and not come to anything clear that I should say.  Or I’ll think it through and something will appear important and I’ll ask about that or mention that.  However, I would like to speak from what I feel in my heart — or as my friend suggested today, not just say what I think that someone would like to hear — but I’m not sure what that is!

All I would have been able to come up with in the convo today would be just kind of laughing and saying “good luck, I believe it will be okay.”  And actually, in the conversation my friend asked me to be more directly honest in, maybe that would have been the most proper response.  At least it would have been what I feel in my heart.

I think I can learn to do this with regards to speaking to other people.  But I still have no clear indication with regards to making life choices.  And I feel a bit ill at ease.  Partly this American diet feels sedative to me and I hate it.  Partly I have this sense that I should do SOMETHING, that the time for recuperation and growth in solitude is passing and I need to choose a way to move forward.

Thus far I have just been waiting, feeling very peaceful and happy, and trusting that when I see the correct path it will be obvious to me.  Maybe this is true.  Yet I don’t sense that merely remaining poised is the correct approach right now.  I have a distinct feeling that I need to be pro-active, to apply intention in some direction.

So as I’m talking through this, I’m feeling maybe I’ll check more job boards.  Maybe the right answer will spring off the page and I’ll feel clearly inspired and know that’s what I should apply myself towards.  Perhaps this is the beginning of finding a compass to follow in my heart.

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