even though michael had invited some people over and had me make pasta, i stayed only long enough to get dinner on the table before heading to another dinner party my dad was throwing with a group of old family friends. his friend pj is the one who has two daughters whom my mom gave my brownies to a few months ago, the story that totally cracked me up. she said i should meet them. i showed up and people were curious about me because they hadn’t seen me in a while. to be honest, people are usually curious because i’ve always been mysterious and unique, but who i really am has been emerging and it’s nice being able to show people this. the more i present like me, the more people comment on how completely different i look. they usually say, wow, how did julia turn into this? (with “this” never being specified).

my dad has made no mention of christmas eve at all this week, but pj and his daughters started talking about the brownies and what a great experience they were. pj said he believed it was better than alcohol, and i said, weed never makes you go home and want to hit your wife.

my dad always has people over to drink whiskey and smoke cigars which they were planning to do that night, but added that they needed to try my herb. he proclaimed, marijuana is a good thing and should be legalized. my mom asked him to lower his voice because we’re in a restaurant, but his voice wasn’t that loud and he was pretty determined to be brazen. then began a loud, boisterous discussion about the benefits of legalization, carried on mostly by my dad and his friends. pj’s daughter who’s going to med school said she believed all drugs should be legalized so we could regulate them, and he said he believed prostitution should be legalized as well. it was incredible. these are chinese immigrants who are conservative, law-abiding citizens, yet they were being open about liberal opinions. i’ve been to these chinese banquet dinners and parents talk over us while the kids eat quietly without making eye contact, but here we all were, sitting around a feast of lobster, crab, prime rib, abalone, shark fin and other delicacies, talking about legalizing prostitution and getting together to smoke weed. the kids at the table were looking at me, wide-eyed and laughing. this chick shows up out of nowhere, and suddenly, their parents are cool.

my mom and i had to stop by another party, so we left, planning to meet everyone back at our house. we went to my aunt anita’s. they were just playing mahjong, a game my mom told me never to learn because it’s an addiction. i hung out with my cousins joanna and steph, trying out the food they’d made. my great aunt ma, sat down next to me on the couch and reached out for my hand.

i still remember you as a baby, she said. you had a really bony butt and it always hurt having you sit in anyone’s lap. that bony butt and plus, you were always squirming.

my cousins started cracking up.

aunt ma wanted me to sit on her lap to see if my butt is still bony. this week i’m weighing in at a solid 155. she’s in her 80’s. but i sit in her lap, supporting the majority of my weight on my legs so as not to crush her. she says that my butt’s not bony anymore and i tell her i have a lot more padding than i did when i was 3.

my cousins were still laughing so i tell them that my nickname as a toddler was “vietnamese boatchild” because i was so pale and thin i looked malnourished. thus the bony butt.

aunt ma puts a scarf around me because she’s concerned that i’m cold. i thank her as she resumes holding my hand.

ever since you were a baby, you were different, she said. the way you are with people, the way you take care of people, the way you’re concerned with people, you’ve always been special. i always treasured you because you’re very pure.

i told her that i know she has watched me grow up, taking care of me when i was a child, and it meant a lot to me.

the truth is, i always remembered her. when i was young, she was the goddess in my sky, the coolest adult i had in my life. i adored her. she was perfect. but one day, she saw some baseball cards in my room and looking through them, she was really disgusted by the black people. and that really broke my heart. i couldn’t face my disappointment that she could be racist, so i avoided her and didn’t want to spend time with her anymore. now that i think about it, i stopped connecting with her for almost 20 years, because i couldn’t deal with my own disappointment, yet i never confronted her. it was a shame to have lost those years. and finally, in my late 20’s, i come home with a black boyfriend. i was terrified of how she might react, but there was no reaction. she treated him as kindly as she treated me, so naturally, i wondered if i had misinterpreted all those years ago. but i know i hadn’t. i don’t know…maybe it needed to happen. maybe the point of 20 years of separation was to have the perspective on each other and appreciation of each other that we have now. things happen the way they’re supposed to happen. i had to journey away to learn how to live with the ones i love, accept them, come back to them, and whether or not she got over those feelings towards black people, it showed how much she loved me, how she was able to see past her own resistances to be able to accept and maintain her love for me. it’s incredible to have had this kind of love in your life.

tonight was a beautiful, intimate interaction with her. i told her i’m leaving on friday, so that gives us plenty of time to hang out. sometimes i can feel the squeeze of time, the knowledge of all that you’ll never know, all the depths, all the history, that reside between people as we walk in our temporary states. these are the things you will someday lose when those who are part of where you come from pass on.

we headed home and my dad and his friends showed up. i rolled for them and they smoked. most of them had smoked it before but my dad’s best friend hadn’t so this was his first time. one of the daughters was asking me about how i make the tincture for the tea, and i explained the process. i joked that i don’t want people to think i’m a drug dealer because i only give it, i never sell it. i’m about helping people, connecting, giving an experience. a lot of my life is based on moving around and then staying in one place long enough that someone comes by and talks to me, and the person who shows up is usually the person i’m supposed to be talking to. and i have these random connections, and it’s often people who are at a crossroads in their life. so sometimes i’ll give them something and tell them to clear a 5 hour window and think about their lives and questions. my mom chipped in that when they legalize, i’m going to make a lot of money. my mom is always thinking in business terms. i do go after success, and i do need security, but i don’t often go after money. i hope to just be taken care of financially and materialistically if i do what i uniquely do best. i want to use openness and truth to heal or boost people. using weed is just an effective method to disarm defenses. but i have others.

i sat down with my dad and his friends, and talked to them the way i do. i opened up a whole world. the guys said that they were very happy, and thanked me for this experience. they said it brought them back 20 years.

back to the last time you were happy?, i asked.

yes, that’s about right, they laughed. they reminisced about when they all met, what life was like, and the things they worry about now.

i told them they need to get together more, be together, have a place of their own. it’s good for them. they said they wanted a cigar room where they could get together and just shoot the shit and smoke cigars. i told them that’s a great idea because men need caves, places that had smoke and fire, things that symbolize men’s roots, materials that made them feel like men.

my dad’s friend pj jumped up a
nd toasted me saying, you’re my kind of girl. you understand.

over cigars and whiskey, they opened up to me. and as they talked, i listened and asked questions. they kept toasting me, saying that despite having met me over the years, they felt like this was the first time they really met me. that i’ve really grown into something quite admirable. pj picked a quiet moment, then said, boy, julia, you really surprised me. to think you would grow into this. your wisdom is exceptionally deep. and for your age, to see so much. that you can speak with such truth and see things so directly is truly a gift. i thank you for this experience.

and then they raised their whiskey, and i raised my diet orange soda, and we toasted. it was a beautiful and validating thing to say.

he said that he realized i had a gift when i used one sentence to sum up something he hadn’t been able to understand for 30 years. that in all these years he’s known my father, he could never understood what connected him to my father, why he admired him so much. but when i talked about how my dad is two different people, that he’s one person out in the world but he’s a silent man at home, he realized, that’s what it is–there’s a nobility in a man who can take care of so many things in the world outside, but when he comes home, he is silent and still. i asked him if his dad was this kind of man.

no, he said. but i am.

he was happy with that knowledge. he said he felt like after 30 years, he understood why he admired my dad so much. but i realized, the truth of what happened was that after all these years, he found something about himself that he could openly admire and love. i smiled at him, told him that he was going to wake up feeling a lot better, a lot lighter, tomorrow morning.

you think so?, he asked.

definitely, i said. it’s like a spiritual chiropractic adjustment that unlocks something deep inside.

you have a gift, he said. i’m very happy. you made me very happy tonight.

the mood was so positive that when pj announced that he’s a capricorn and he’s an asshole, i told him that it’s okay because it’s kind of what cappy’s are known for. i asked my dad who else is a cappy (my mom’s brother) and he thought about it then said, oh, i don’t want to think about that guy. i told him that pj understands, my uncle is just an asshole. you can’t take it personally because he’s an asshole to everyone. but if i can find a way to love my dad and a way to love my uncle despite knowing what assholes you are, then you two can find a way to come to terms with each other. my dad’s friends said that was very true.

i told my dad that i could invite my uncle right now, and we can smoke some weed, make some peace and lay this grudge to rest. and he had a capricorn backing him up who could vouch for my uncle that it’s nothing personal…he’s just an asshole.

my dad just kind of laughed it off, but he didn’t say no.

keep working on it, my uncle pj told me quietly. don’t give up. keep working on him.

my dad’s friend kc dropped a strange little bomb later in the conversation. he told me that he understood what i meant about my dad having two people inside him. he asked me if i’ve ever gone to taiwan with my dad, and i said no. he said you have to. when you see who he is there, the way people react to him, you will be shocked, i guarantee it. whatever your dad is here, he’s something powerful in taiwan. let me put it this way, when he shows up at the airport, i had better be waiting for him. wherever he goes, wait until you see the way people react, the things that happened. i promise you, you won’t believe it.

he points at my dad. this guy, he said. he’s big.

what is he, like the godfather?, i asked.

my dad’s best friend slaps his leg and said, that’s exactly what he is.

my dad says, yeah, i’m the godfather, mockingly.

his friend says, not the godfather exactly. bigger. he takes care of many people. so many people depend on him. not the godfather, but the mafia. the whole thing, all that power. you need to see what he’s doing there. you need to show her, boss, he said. she’s your daughter.

so does he have people killed?, i asked. i’m thinking about the analogy i always used about the us government and americans, how our government lies to us about its true nature, how it’s like your dad’s a mob boss and everyone knows, but you’re his kid and have no idea your dad’s a bad guy, but everyone else does. i’m wondering if maybe all these experiences of life are just the jigsaw pieces trying to show me what mine really is. what if my life were stranger than fiction? the dragon eating its tail. and while i’d thought i was the dragon, i find that my life, my world is really the tail. who is my dad, really? because in my world, he’s my greatest mystery.

my dad makes a flippant joke about my remark about having people killed, but k.c. considers it. he wouldn’t kill anyone but people tend to go away. i’m telling you, he’s big.

i think about this evil man who messed with my family’s business the last few years, trying a corporate take-over. i remember the first time i met him, before he reached his hands into my parents’ business, when he was working for my uncle. he’s this man who looks like a rat, and he’d tried to seduce me in his hotel room while on business and it was disgusting and a joke. i never told anyone about it because i didn’t want my family getting pissed and he’d stolen some money from my uncle and run off, so it was a non-issue. but when i found out years later he had come back and somehow gotten into my parents’ company, i told them that guy is bad news. i didn’t like to be around him because he’s the kind of guy i had a feeling would end up dying a violent death. he’d disappeared the last few years as my family has been fighting in the courts to get back the shares of the company. there are lots of investing message boards speculating about the whereabouts of this man, because he’s stolen money from a lot of people over the years. the rumor is that because the sec is investigating him now, he can’t step foot in the continental u.s. first word was that he was in the bahamas, then it was that he was living in a boat off the coast of alaska treasure-hunting. but no one has seen him in years. i asked my dad, are you the reason [this guy] disappeared?

no, his friend says adamantly. your dad wouldn’t do that. my dad just smirks.

wtf? are these guys fucking with me? or has this been the secret life my dad has been hiding all these years? or what if he’s the one i get it from, this magnetism.

are you a magician?, i asked him. i’m not talking parlor tricks. i’m talking about the real thing. i’m talking about your will becoming reality. because i wonder if it’s from my father that i’ve inherited my magnetic abilities. i do notice he’s a gambler who’s always in control, yet he won’t let us watch him play, but he always comes back with wins. he’s unusually lucky. and this trip, i noticed i was calling a lot of cards, getting attention for it. during one round, i told the table not to worry, that the dealer had a 4 hidden under her Queen. and when she flipped it to reveal a 4, the guy next to me was astounded. how’d you know that?, he asked. i’m psychic, i joked, even though i’m not. i just had a feeling. i did it a few other times, calling the exact card that landed, or asking for a specific card and getting it. after a few times, the dealer said, you really are psychic. but here’s the thing–i also called a lot of wrong cards, but people usually dismiss the wrong ones as wishful thinking, but the right calls as extraordinary. and i noticed that the more i astounded people by calling the right ones, the more i was winning my hands. the trick isn’t in psychically predicting the cards…it’s using the appearance of a trick to harness other people’s belief in magic to create a magnetic storm. and using that magnetism to assert will. if eno
ugh people believe in something, it can become a collective reality, so you just have to get them to believe in the same thing. i’ve never won that proportion of money at a blackjack table before. the whole table won big. maybe my dad isn’t a lord of organized crime, but has similar magical-seeming capabilities, but his are more refined and powerful, while my abilities are still in their nascence.

so i asked if my mother knows about this side of him and they said that my mother must know. but my dad was firm about saying she didn’t. he said she’d never gone with him to taiwan, they never go at the same time.

i asked him why they’ve never gone together and he shrugged mysteriously.

i asked him if it’s safe to go with him to taiwan and see all this. like could i trust him that no harm would befall me?

he said, yes.

would you be willing to take me?, i asked.


c’mon, boss, show her, his friend said. your dad has a way with people. he makes things happen.

i told them that i didn’t trust my dad to go with him to taiwan alone. i said, did you know last week i was playing basketball and he rooted against me?

oh yeah! his friend said. he told us all about it.

i was incredulous. not only did he know he was doing a really asshole thing, he bragged about it.

but he told us you beat him today, his friend said.

no, he won, i said.

we’d played one-on-one earlier and he’d won by 2 points just taking shots on the inbounds, but i had scored on all attacking drives in the paint. i had wanted to play because i needed to work on my footwork.

he told us, today, julia has finally beaten me.

i realized my dad was finally conceding that i could play, something he’d never been willing to do. i’d beaten him once before, but today i worked really hard to play at my highest level. i even blocked one of his shots so completely, it dropped into my hands.

i told his friends that i’d been training all year to get really good, outplaying really athletic men. that this former college player told me that i move better than most male athletes last week, yet whenever my dad’s watching or playing, i just can’t seem to be that person or get to that level. that i’ve always felt that he was getting into my head and subduing me.

why are you doing that? she’s your daughter, his friends said, like they knew it was clearly in character with him to somehow be sabotaging me without any overt evidence.

my dad played innocent. i told them that it’s fine though, it really pisses me off so much that he refuses to acknowledge that i’m good, and i can somehow not play to my peak level around him that it challenges me, makes me work harder.

this is the thing about your dad, his friend said. you’re his treasure. did you know he’s been a particular brand of asshole for, what, 5 or 6 years now? from about the time you really left. he’s like a dog in that he’s loyal and passionate and he’s out in the world doing all this stuff, but you’re the one he loves most. you’re his jewel, his treasure, and tonight, we can really see why. so you went away and that created this longing. and now you’re back, and he’s a different person. but also remember, your dad…he fights everyone. it’s the way he has to do it because he’s been surviving for so long. he has to protect his feelings so he’s an asshole with the things he loves most but don’t take it personally. he would follow you anywhere. he talks about you all the time and you just don’t know it.

i look at my dad who’s just smiling that happy smile but his arms are so tight, hugging himself protectively, this man child who was both the greatest sun and greatest shadow in my life. i think about the discoveries tonight, how much i have yet to grasp. he has power on par with an entire family of organized crime, and i’d been guaranteed the extent of it is awesome and unbelievable. my dad secretly messes with my head, but i’m the treasure this great man is intent on protecting. and all these men have openly confessed to understanding what i can do with people, believing it has great value in this world.

the night was happy, and featured lots of laughter. the men would start talking about a memory and that would set them off into song. in the haze of cigar smoke, i could see the life in their eyes, young hearts grasping the happiness of youth with the wisdom of now. for an evening, a beautiful bend in time.

when they left, they each came up and shook my hand in respect, bowing and thanking me, a gesture usually reserved for elders. then they hugged me as people who have shared a deep, powerful experience together.

emergence. this is me. this is what i want to do with my life.

“So what’s your situation?” I ask him. He had a comfortable energy, brotherly. We were huddled together with our arms and shoulders touching–whether for warmth or conspiracy, the moment felt safe.

“Oh,” he laughs. “It’s complicated. Basically, I’m choosing between these two girls. I like them both a lot but they’re very different.”

“Well, maybe it’s not about these girls themselves. Maybe you’re triangulating something.”

He laughs nervously. “Nooo,” he said. “I’m definitely not trying to create a triangle.”

I realize he’s thinking I’m talking about threesomes or a love triangle.

“What I mean is, there are probably things you like in one girl that the other doesn’t have, and things you like in the other that aren’t present in the first. If all these things were present in one girl, she would be the perfect girl for you. So maybe neither girl is the one, but you’re using both of them to compare against each other to figure out the One.”

“Definitely,” he said. “To have both sides would be ideal, but they’re so contradictory I can’t see how they could be the same person. One girl, she’s hot, she wants me to spoil her with expensive things, she’s demanding and she’s really sexually aggressive. Then there’s the other girl. She’s amazing. She’s kind, she’s sweet, she takes care of me…she’s an incredible chef, and people just fall in love with her within like 5 seconds of meeting her. She’s the kind of girl that you set loose in a room and watch people fall for her, and you’re a better person in the eyes of other people, just because you’re the one who brought her.”

“And you don’t believe that one girl can be both?”

“No, not really. I mean, maybe, but…not really.”

I look into his eyes. I have an idea what this is about.

“How’s the sex?”

He looks taken aback and immediately embarrassed like he can’t believe I asked him that. But I know he’s going to tell me. People always tell me. Because it’s important to answering the question he’s really asking me.

“Now you’re getting me to talk about something way more personal than anything you’ve talked about,” he said. He’d been leaning against the bar standing up, but now he takes a seat like he needs to be sitting down to talk about this.

“Well, with the girl who’s sweet and caring…” He hesitates.

“It’s not very good, is it?”

I say it more as a statement than a question.

“No,” he admits. “But it’s not because of…like, anything…it’s just…we don’t have chemistry. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yes,” I said.

“It’s not that it’s bad, but you want to be with someone you have chemistry with. Where you just wake up in the morning and your first thought is how badly you want to fuck this person, if for no other reason than they’re who they are and they’re right next to you, and all you can think about is how badly you want them. Does this make sense?”

I’m laughing. He looks at me like he’s worried he’s revealed too much, but I’m laughing because I’ve got the picture.

“I know exactly what you’re talking about,” I said. “Trust me. I’m with you on this.”

I think about my best relationship with the nicest guy–people couldn’t believe how sweet and thoughtful he was. And I thought he was great. Yet…he worked at night, so most nights I would dick around, doing my thing, but as soon as he called to say he was on his way home, I knew I had 15 to 20 minutes to get in bed and be asleep, so I wouldn’t have to sleep with him when he got home. In terms of day to day compatibility, he was my best relationship. But you have to have deep passion for each other. You need to not be able to keep your hands off each other. And when the sexual tension fades (or takes a backseat) as it eventually does with all relationships, that passion for each other will drive you to find other ways of wanting to get inside each other, grow with each other, discover new things about each other. Passion intertwines you. Makes you believe in each other. You have to always have passion. And it has to be such a force in your life, that you can’t see your life without having this person by your side, and you don’t want to live a life where they’re not there to share it. Like two magnets who are always looking for any and every way to join together, every morning becomes a new challenge, a new inspiration, a new blessing for what you have, what you make, what you’ll become.

Yes, I know exactly what he’s talking about.

“I don’t think you need to worry,” I say. “Maybe neither of these girls is your girl, but I promise you, that woman you’re looking for with both these sides definitely exists. You’re just in the process of defining what you want.”

“You’re that sure?”

I look him dead in the eye.

“Trust me. She exists.”

a lot of people say i live an interesting life, or that i seem to be really “lucky.”

if they really got to know me and thought about it, they would see how i’m not lucky, as much as i’ve earned everything that i have and that has come into my life, because i’ve faced life lessons, taken risks, built myself and my abilities, and i’ve learned what it means to intuitively have good timing. when to accept and when to yield to the will of the universe or others. how to communicate with it. recognize open doors. recognize my soulmates.

most importantly, how to ask for what i want, by focusing on what i really want, and being careful of the words and images i put out there.

the universe is usually happy to give you anything, as long as it gets you where you’re supposed to be going and you’re learning what you need to learn. beware, it has a wicked sense of irony and is not above teaching you a necessary lesson. but the most important rule to think about is,

“will i want what i get, when i get what i want?”

that really helps Future You not be resentful of Past You, and not hold grudges.

most of the random, lucky things that happen, if you look back, you’ll see that i was reaching for them in the past, that i was working hard building my understanding of what i want, then looking for it, chipping away at it, like a sculptor in search of the angel within the stone, not realizing the angel is derived from something deep within him.

runners focus a certain number of feet ahead of them. if you look at the edge of your periphery in your mind, the farthest point illuminated when you think of your path, you should be able to see things. maybe they’re murky shapes. maybe they’re a mix of the concrete and the abstract. maybe you have trouble distinguishing what’s real from what’s imagination, what is hope, dream, wish, fear. regardless, take the time to focus on this spot. work to get to a place where you can distinguish real shapes that you believe to be true, even if you’re not sure what they are. learn to read shapes and signs. and carve at it until the closer you get, the more clear and solid they become. beware of injecting your fears. these project into the future. beware of allowing your humility to compromise all that could be waiting for you. the problem is often not that people ask for too much, but that they don’t ask for what is fully possible to them. they sell themselves short. be honest about who you are and what you want in your life to be happy. then ask for the most possible within that truthful framework.

i remember last year, i called rie from amsterdam and told her my boyfriend had proposed to me. i was a little apprehensive because he did this after an argument, and my gut feeling was that there was something very wrong with this…that this occurrence signaled something deeper and more problematic than i had the perspective to understand at the time, so i wanted to know her perspective.

she told me, marriage is not something that just happens. it’s not a proposition that just sneaks up on you, and then you have this tiny window to say yes, or no, and suddenly, your entire life swings by this moment’s decision, leaving you at life’s whim. she said it’s something that two people unfold, a decision, a belief, that this is the next stage in the path, that through consideration and understanding of themselves and their hopes and dreams, the idea to get married itself is not a random act of chance, but a solid, adult and collaborative decision in the face of life’s randomness and chance.

in a way, i think life in general is like that. so many people perceive it as so big, so random, so in control, that they believe the only power they have are the decisions they make in the moment when they’re suddenly faced with a decision. but the truth is, most of the time, you build your future.

i always wonder, when i see things in the future that later on end up happening, if i saw it because it was there, sitting in the future, or was it because I saw it, it became the future. am i an observer, or am i a reality projector?

to be honest, we are both. there are things we can not change because of the way we’ve built up our lives, like the waves of the ocean hitting the beach that are coming because of all that has already been put into motion. but unless you’ve completely walked your life into a corner, there’s so much room for creation. so much room to decide who you want to be, and what you want in your life, so that you can set yourself a direction and put yourself in the best position to get there.

people with good timing are not psychic. or magicians. nor are they purely lucky. they are people who, within some place inside themselves, understand that there is a balanced relationship between their personal universe inside them and the workings of the world outside. they understand that by always understanding where they are now, and being able to look at the farthest point of their forward periphery, they can find and project what is there, because these are things that they had previously believed and asked for.

i knew in march that i was aiming for august, that i will meet someone very extraordinary. i have put myself in the exact position to do that, and met an extraordinary person. through this experience, i now know what i’m looking for within someone’s eyes, within someone’s mind, heart and soul. i’ve been refocused.

now, when i look forward in my periphery, i see hard work and words. lots and lots of words. i see collaboration, i see a need to focus with september through october being dedicated to laying down roots, settling down and making money, building my reputation, finally showing people what i’ve been working on. i see beneficial collaboration with exciting, talented people. and i see a very interesting man with bright eyes who will understand me.

if i should get there, it will be exactly where i was meant to be. and when i achieve what i saw and happiness radiates out of me, people will again say, what a magical life you live. how lucky you are.

but i’ll remember, that i built it. i saw it, i felt it was best for me so i believed in it, walking towards it through the tunnel of time, taking what i needed and building my life, myself, my connections and my experiences in necessary ways to get to that place.

i believe this is the strongest way to live. if you ever ask me what is the secret to a magical life, it is this. know what you want. look into your future, see it there, believe in it, then bust your ass to put yourself in the best position to be in that time and place.


the thing about dating someone when so much is carried on over im, is that you become dependent on words. words to convey realities, to give you glimpses of a multi-dimensional universe that you can’t at the moment perceive with any other senses. you trust that the psychically imaged/constructed/projected/perceived universe of this person is exactly the one that exists behind these string of words.

and for someone whose livelihood is completely built upon words, it makes me realize how inadequate words are for capturing and reflecting entire universes, realities and understandings.

i’m making too many mistakes with words, because i’m barely there as i write them. my head is somewhere else, and i’m perceiving and painting realities that may or may not exist. i’ve learned it’s important to paint them positively, or sometimes people around you suffer, perhaps due to their own private lives, perhaps due to your influence. so you have to be very careful, and only outlet your negativities to someone who’s strong. but after a while, it’s not hard to be positive. you just have to trust that you’ll be taken care of by a force greater than you. and whatever happens is just a part of all that happens, so you will be big enough to accept it.

it’s not about the result. that you were ultimately able to control everything. it’s that in earnest, with optimism, you tried.

and so i’ve committed myself to that vision, that position, that if you focus your energy, your projections are expansive. and i never again want to hear anyone call me selfish again because everything. every single thing i’ve ever discovered about life and how life really works, i’ve shared it with you. You. Whoever you are. It doesn’t matter to me. You’re all You.

but how honest do you want me to be? how much do you want to recognize me? it’s scary when you wonder if i’m you isn’t it?

so i’ll tell the stories you like so much. because they’re all true.

let’s start with the trees in the forest.

david. the only one i can’t get inside of and see. it drives me crazy but it tests my ability to have faith. imagine holding a really hard yoga position for an infinite amount of time…you have no idea when you’re allowed to let go, but you try to be really zen about it and hold on until you know it’s time not to. this is what it feels to my psychic energy. so despite not knowing what’s along the bend, i force myself to have faith in a reality i can’t see. because the problem is, i see everything.

since meeting me, david can now remember his dreams, whereas before sleep was an endless black hole. his dreams are mostly positive, but he sees them as what he believes are events of the future. the thing that makes me happy is that he’s remembering them, because this is significant.

my brother. needs his independence. i fear a future where he proves if he can fend for himself, because i fear the answer if it is not a safe one, but i know that by constantly watching and projecting for him, i’m not letting him try. it’s very hard to let him go.

my father. is finally happy. in that phone call where i threatened to kill him, was when things changed. let me quickly explain before you think i’m a psycho chick from a lifetime tv-movie. i got tired of him being jealous of my mom’s success in their company and when he declared he was going to sabotage her. i used reason at first and when i realized he was going to do it anyway without my support, i laid it down. it was done over the phone, but it was medieval. it’s like i whipped out a sword and my armor and i angrily declared a duel. except he was wearing nothing but pajamas. and i went to town telling him don’t you dare sabotage her. you started your own company and stepped aside so she could start making some decisions, so don’t you dare sabotage her until she gets a chance to prove if her decisions work. i told him i was sorry that his mom was such a horrible person to him, because she started her own life but didn’t have enough room in her heart for him, but who cares. who cares about what one selfish woman thinks. just because she didn’t have the heart to love him didn’t mean that he wasn’t deserving of love. i told him about the prison. the one that we lock ourselves into, and even though the door is open, we’re terrified of walking out that door. i told him too many people sit in this prison they’ve made for themselves, and just wait for that door to lock so they can be angry and say that they never had a chance to get out anyway. but the thing, is, the door is not fucking locked. you can leave ANY. TIME. so why are you still sitting in it when you have a wife that wants to love you, kids that love you, and friends and family who would never say anything less than you are a kind, generous, wonderful human being? he got angry and tried to tell me that no one loved him and i told him i needed him to stand in the mirror and say, I am a good husband. I am a good person. I am someone worthy of love. I kept repeating it over and over like a mantra, and he protested at first then started weeping, demanding, why are you doing this to me??? i told him, because you need to walk out of your prison. you need to walk out of your prison, and start living the life that you always wanted, because it’s right there waiting for you. i started repeating this over and again. he told me i was a bad daughter and that’s when i blew.

if i EVER find out you’ve been going around calling me a bad daughter, i will hunt you down and kill you. if you tell ANYONE that i am a bad daughter after everything i’ve done for you, after everything i’ve given to you, after i made my life a miserable shrine for you for so long so you could see what it’s like for someone you love to be with men who hated themselves, then you don’t deserve to have me in your life. i don’t NEED you in my life. i’m only here because i WANT you in my life, but if you think i’m a bad daughter, then i’m not sharing what an amazing person i am to someone who doesn’t deserve to be around me.

and then for the first time in my life, i hung up on him.

months later, i look at him now and he’s happy to see me. it’s a secret we share.

he’s finally free.

my mom. great for hugs. great for comfort. can’t touch her. while in taiwan, we were sitting on this beautiful patio in the mountains above a harbor having afternoon tea. my aunt’s friend bluntly comments, “I think in this lifetime, your mom’s greatest love is work.”

i actually find it amusing but i kind of sigh, good-naturedly. i’ve frankly explained to david that my mom’s first love is her company, and the people around her have spent their lifetimes coming to terms with that. but saying it in front of me is kind of like saying, “Hey, your boyfriend seems to really love his wife.”

edison. freakishly smart kid who can devour knowledge. they need to feed him as much as possible. he’s capable of doing great things. his dad is a scorpio who knows magic.

i have a musician connection. i feel a comforting warmth inside me when i think of him and it makes me peaceful to know he’s out in the world. i’ve thought a lot of times that i would like to get closer to him, but the only thing is i worry that he’ll try to sleep with me. which is the problem i face when getting closer to people sometimes. they always want to cross that physical boundary with me and that line destroys something that is actually stronger and more innocent, but transcendental. and it always makes things complicated. i just wish someone would try it out without crossing that line, because it could really be a powerful thing.

speaking of d. she was in love with me. brian thought i was evil for seducing her, but i felt like i didn’t go out of m
y way to get her attention outside of revealing who i was. but i didn’t want to sleep with her because i wasn’t interested in her body but in the end, when i flat out said no, she got angry and betrayed me to her bulldog lesbian wife, claiming there was something going on. i was a little traumatized by it because i did nothing but try to help her and explain the power of projection for healing. but she wanted me to be a crutch, and she pulled me into a drama that was negative and dangerous for me. i refused to carry on anything in secrecy (if we’re friends, why do i have to hide anything?, i asked her before hanging up), and never heard from her or her angry wife again. sometimes a memory will pop in my head and i’ll wonder where she is in her life. just as i’m about to imagine, i realize i can’t tell if i want a positive reality or a negative reality because i’m still hurt, but then i force myself to not be curious, so i don’t imagine anything at all.

communication is being withheld with my childhood connection. it’s okay though. like i told him. it’s okay. it’s like a river hidden in the forest of the mountains. you come to it, and float little paper boats away whenever you want. that’s the beauty of it.

bruce lee in the light. bruce lee in the darkness. tigers have two colors.

so i guess i never finished my story about vegas.

so the wang club. was fucking awful. but an interesting experience, like walking away from a car crash alive.

i had scored weed off one of the strippers rather than give in to a lapdance because we were warned before hand, this was code for them to have sex with you in a private room. but i wanted to give him some kind of business. when we got back to the casino, i went to the bathroom and hollowed out a cigarette, then packed it in there. the girls wanted to have 3am prime rib so we headed to bill’s. cody wanted to smoke with me but she wanted us to do it under the prime rib sign so we could take pictures of it.

there was a lot of confusion organizing so many girls so we got split up into tables. as we walked to ours, this guy grabbed my arm.

‘sit with us,’ he said.

i look down to see three young hispanic guys staring at me. i dismiss them as drunk, horny guys and keep walking.

‘no wait! just a few minutes,’ he says, not letting go of my arm. so i say, ‘just a few minutes.’

i sit down and one guy tries to put his arm around me but i casually intercept and put it on the table, squeezing his hand.

‘listen, if i sit with you guys, i’m gonna drop knowledge on you.’

the guys laugh.

‘what kind of knowledge?’ they ask.

‘serious knowledge. i don’t know if you’re old enough for this. how old are you?’

’24,’ he says. ‘we’re all 24.’

‘naw, you’re babies,’ i said.

’24 is old!’ he says.

‘okay, let me see your id.’

he pulls out his wallet and show’s me his driver’s license and i see that he’s a few weeks younger than my brother. i will always talk to people born close to him in date, because it makes me wonder what he might have been like.

‘so what kind of knowledge do you have?’ he says, part curious, part unbelieving.

so i tell them about women and power, and some girls think they have fake power with men, but men know it and use it to manipulate them. but at the end of the day, if they want to have a good life, they’ll stay away from the women who don’t understand what power is, and find a someone who understands it. because a woman who has power holds life in her hands and could so easily be destructive with it, but knowing this makes her gentle.

i suddenly realize these guys are staring at me. i’m feeling self-conscious.

then the skinny one in the corner says, ‘thank you for that. you really gave us something here.’

i think he might be joking at first.

‘really?’ i say. ‘or are you guys messing with me.’

the guy across from me grabs my hand.

‘no, really. we’ve heard everything you said. i’ve been sitting here eating a salad with no dressing even though the dressing’s right here because i’ve been listening to everything you said.’

the guy next to me who hadn’t said a single word this whole time, suddenly says,

‘we even ordered you fries.’

he points to the fries next to me. the other guy laughs.

‘oh yeah, we did. before you got here. it’s like we anticipated you’d be here so we ordered you something.’

i must be looking at him like he’s crazy because he started laughing.

‘i’m serious! i don’t need fries. my meal comes with fries and these guys won’t eat them.”

i start laughing. this is unreal.

the skinny one pipes up.

‘I know who you are.’

my heart jumps. can he see me?

‘you do?’

the other guy nods. ‘definitely.’

‘who am i?’ i ask, trying to sound more like i’m challenging them rather than on edge for the answer.

‘we’re not gonna say. but we know.’

i think about it. always be gentle.

‘okay,’ i say, though my heart is still beating quickly.

my friend comes over and bends over me, whispering in my ear.

‘is everything okay?’

‘yeah,’ i say. to the guys… ‘i have to go.’

i shake each guy’s hand warmly as i leave, sitting in the booth directly behind them.

i do notice as i sit down, that a guy up the row is looking at me, smiling. i smile and nod at him, but my attention shifts because jessie is telling a story about how she once got caught with grape jelly in her shoes.

i wasn’t hungry anymore so i just drank water. the girls got upset with the waitress because she brought a salad with the wrong dressing. they were making a joke out of it, but the waitress seemed like such a hardworking, sweet girl so i told them how much it probably sucks to work the graveyard shift and be the only waitress, and who cares, it’s just dressing. they were still making fun of her when she came back, so i immediately intercepted her. i asked her if she was from indonesia.

she looked surprised. ‘yes! how did you know?’

‘i was in bali a few months ago. people there had such amazing, beautiful energies, just like yours.’

she smiled such a beautiful, kind smile.

‘thank you. thank you very much for that.’

she walked away, smiling.

a few minutes later, the guy down the row’s friend came back and they stand up to leave. he waits to get my attention, then waves bye to me. i smile and nod again. go back to our conversation.

about 5 minutes later, i see him walk back into the restaurant. i know instantly he’s coming to talk to me. he walks right up to our table, doesn’t even seem to notice the other girls. this surprises me because they’ve already yelled at the waitress so this is definitely a drunk shark tank. but he walks right up to me and says, ‘are you staying at this hotel?’

‘no,’ i say, noticing the girls gaping at him out of the corner of my eye. they’ve gone silent.

‘can i have your phone number? i would like to talk to you.’

i am suddenly fearful for him. he seemed like a nice, shockingly earnest guy who looked mildly shellshocked, but this was a pack of hungry drunk girls waiting for prime rib. these girls will eat him.

‘um…where do you live?’ i ask him. trying to gently get him out of this situation. it’s too bad because i’m usually always willing to talk to people who approach me.

‘colorado,’ he says.

‘oh…i live in los angeles,’ i say. trying to communicate that i’m not interested in anything long distance.

‘oh…uh, okay, ‘ he says. he seems to wake up and suddenly become aware of the room, aware of the boothful of girls gawking at him. he turns and walks swiftly out the door.

the giggling starts immediately and i tell them to be quiet, seriously, wait for him to get out of the room. i told them it’s a very hard thing, what he did and i don’t want to traumatize him by thinking we’re laughing at him.

‘what the hell was that,’ cody asked me.

i knew what it was.

‘i don’t know,’ i said.

‘he looked terrified, but he walked up to you like he knew you…’

‘yeah…that happens a lot with me.’


‘yeah. it’s kind of weird.’

‘well, that was weird,’ raleigh said.

the conversation awkwardly shifts back to whatever was happening before that blip in reality, when i feel a hand reach over and grab my hand. the guy whispers,

‘what was that all about?’

i jump out of my booth and switch to theirs.

‘that guy was watching me talk to you and i think i magnetized him by association. like i was giving you guys a message but somehow he got pulled in, too.’

‘wow, i think you rocked his world,’ he says.

i start laughing.

‘this is a first.’

so i start talking with them again and the conversation is deep. one guy wants to read me.

he says, ‘those girls you’re with. they don’t know who you really are. you hang out with them, you talk to them about shallow stuff
, but they don’t know you.’

‘that’s right,’ i say. ‘they’re my cover.’

‘in fact, this right here, this is the first real conversation you’ve had, probably all weekend.’

‘again, that’s true,’ i say.

he looks under the table at my shoes.

‘you probably like to wear like, jeans and t-shirts, things that are comfortable. and running shoes, and you probably walk around exploring a lot.’

‘when i’m being me, i like being comfortable,’ i say. ‘that’s pretty good.’

we smile at each other. he asks me how they can get in touch with me. i tell them that i usually just disappear. i don’t like people being able to find me. that i figure, if they find me again, then it was meant to be. but who i am now is not who i am in my other world, and for them to find me will put both worlds in the same room and by law of nature, it means one world may be negated and i don’t want that. they are meeting the secret me, and this is the best part. the other world is a cover, a way to get through day to day. it turns out one of them is a radio dj and he’s doing a report about his trip to vegas. i get anxious. i tell him he can’t talk about what i’d told them, but he said he was just going to talk about me, and call me barbary coast. and that when i hear him talking, that i should call him and let him know how to get in touch with me. he tells me when to listen.

i go back to my booth. when they leave, they say goodbye. the guy who had held my hand was staring at me with this intense look, i can’t describe it exactly…but like he was trying to memorize all my details so that he would always remember me.

and i…i looked at him and thought, this may very well be the last time i ever see him.

i guess we both took a picture. and even though i saw his id, i never looked at his name.

afterwards, as we’re leaving, the other girls go to the bathroom. i find our waitress and slip her a $20 bill, even though i’d only had water. one thing i learned when i was in bali was that many people from indonesia go out of the country to work because they support large families back home. whether or not this is true for this girl, i wanted to give her something because i appreciated her for who she was. she had beautiful energy and i felt grateful that she was in the world.

we headed home the next day. you could feel it…this was one of those trips everyone would remember forever, their own experience of it.

the following evening, i could have listened to the radio program to see what would unfold. but the strangest thing happened.

i fell asleep right after work and slept through until the morning.

maybe that’s just the way it happens.

reality resets.

see, who you are is like a million polarities simultaneously attracted and repelled to different degrees at different times, forming a complex system that continually changes with different aspects dominating depending on the degree of tension between certain polarities.

if you want to explore certain things, ideas or perspectives, you imagine particular polarities and you stretch them as far apart from each other as you can like a rubber band, putting great energy and thought into one concept/point/image/idea, then opposing energy and thought into the other. basically, you have to believe in both equally strongly, until they are almost the same thing to you. because at some point in the infinity continuum, polar opposites co-exist as the exact same point. this is why it’s very very important to make sure you identify concepts in direct opposition or you’ll see that it doesn’t work. you need to be as extreme as possible, exerting as much energy simultaneously into both, but ideally, you exert an equal amount of energy into each polarity so that it is balanced. and through that aggravated tension, new syntheses of idea are born by observing what is revealed in the tension between the polarities.

my point is, don’t read too much into things. i do my best to entertain strangers, update friends, etc., but this has always been first and foremost my mental training space.

One thing that I always ponder is what happens if you try to wish upon a star but tag your hopes and dreams onto a plane instead. This has been something I’ve worried about for years, but then the other night, I had an epiphany…

You can wish upon a star, as the saying goes, and hope that somewhere out there in the universe, a mystical power will grant you your wish.

But if you accidentally wish upon a plane, now there are, say, hundreds of people you have directed your hopes and dreams to. Essentially, you have shared your hopes with them, even though they aren’t consciously aware of this. Those hundred people now go on with their own lives, but what if unconsciously, they carry your wish with them and somehow, with the synchronicity of the universe and the way small changes on the other side of the world can affect your reality, their combined efforts manage to manifest your wish for you.

So you can wish upon a star, one so abstract and far away, or you can share your dreams with a group of strangers headed towards an unknown destination. And perhaps, those strangers might, through the motions of going about their day, help manifest your dream for you.

I’ve decided that every night, I’m going to make a wish upon a plane.

Preferably the largest plane I can find.

new objective

new objective as we head into the fall, a season where i am both at my strongest and most vulnerable:

when in the present, withhold talking and perceive emotionally.

let the emotions experience life without the demands, critiques and dominance of the mind.

let the heart unfold the truth of every moment and interaction.

and if the truth is painful, take that energy back to your cave and turn it into poetry.

and if the truth is beautiful, take that fear back to your cave and turn it into poetry.

and one day when you are loaded to the brim with poetry, tense with trying to hold every drop without spilling over, let yourself topple the cup and empty yourself of everything.

and perhaps, with the mastery of this task, you will set yourself free.

So this is what went down last night. I haven’t processed all of it yet internally, but I was definitely in some kind of zone.

I did my first speech for Toastmasters last night. I secretly had one objective and one objective only–the private me that only people with “soulmate” connections see, and what you get a taste of on my blog…I was going to publically reveal it. I was going to rip off my mask and show my true self to a room full of people and see what happens. I didn’t know what to expect, but I did expect it to be an unusual night for probably many involved.

I know what the experience is like for people in one-on-one situations–it changes them. I’ve been told it’s like being hit with a live wire, an energy that gradually works its way through you until you can no longer see yourself or your place in the world in the same way. Sometimes the changes are small or temporary, sometimes the changes are dramatic and what floats up to the surface from these people’s subconscious is a big tragic fish that they can no longer ignore. Over the years, I’ve grown in confidence that as hard to explain as these connections and experiences are and as scary as the unknown is, it’s something that does immense positive good for those who can hear the message and accept it.

I was nervous. I’m a writer, not a speaker. I may seem outgoing, but the true me, I hide like a monk in a dense forest who only reveals himself to the stranger lost in the woods to provide direction. Otherwise, I keep to myself.

I practiced the night before in front of the one person who had inspired this change in me, the one who stirred up my insides enough to make me want to share this ability, to not keep it hidden. I have knowledge. That raw truth is power. And I was going to see what happens when I reveal that I know how to use it.

The meetings are held at an IHOP in Santa Monica. I always thought it was a little ridiculous, like a Saturday Night Live skit. We’re in this little conference room in the back of the restaurant, and as these nervous people are giving speeches, waiters come crashing in with dishes rattling, and bad 80’s music like “Take My Breath Away” or “Take On Me” trailing after them from the restaurant speakers. The group is mixed–a lot of business/financial types looking to improve their professional presentation skills next to shy, mousy individuals looking to get over their shyness, with a small handful of free spirits tossed in.

I was a little anxious, but I was confident. I know they say, imagine your audience is naked as a way to not be nervous, but I needed one hell of a pep talk from myself, the kind that’s so confident, so spot on, it destroys any cell of doubt inside me. I looked around, at this fairly conservative crowd and then in my head, I heard myself say:

I’m about to have sex with all of your minds, and you don’t even know it yet….

It was the funniest thought to me, but it was so true. Suddenly, there was no doubt inside me. These people, so docile eating their dinner, some slightly bored…I looked at each and every one–the old ladies, the stiff business men in suits, the married guy who’s closetly gay, the cute nervous guy and said in my head, you are all gonna wanna fuck me when i’m done with you.

Oh man did I feel empowered.

Ironically, the theme of the meeting turned out to be Passion. It was like it was fated (to give you an idea, past themes have been music, islands, BS like that). This kind of cheesy woman was our guest speaker and she’s made a living teaching people how to inject passion into their speaking. I listened to her and she had a firm grasp on enthusiasm, but she wasn’t truthful, she was wearing a mask. She was boisterous and colorful, but not radiating true energy, passion. I felt confident I was about to do something big.

We take a break and I go outside to commune with the night sky. People walk by and they see me, but even the homeless people looked and left me alone, for which I was grateful.

I was the 2nd speaker, and the first one was this girl who joined the same time I did. She was giving her first speech, the same assignment I had, which is called the Icebreaker where we introduce ourselves. She’s a little shy and she’s doing this to confront her fear, and I was proud of her because she did a good job despite her nervousness. She talked about how she came to choose her profession, and even told some jokes that came off well.

Then it was my turn. I chose to wear a solid black button down shirt so that my personality from my clothing was neutral if not mysterious. I loved that I had said hi to most of these people at the past 3 meetings I’ve attended, but no one knew me so I was working with a blank slate. My evaluator quietly asked me if there was anything in particular that he should look for and I told him, I’m a Gemini, so what I”m going to do is show you three facets of myself –something that’s superficial like these people are expecting, then something that only some people know, and then something that no one knows. He asked me, “A gemini is usually two. There should only be two sides.” I smile and say, “That’s the myth isn’t it? There are actually 3 sides to every coin.” And with that, I get introduced.

The toastmaster had emailed me questions about what I’m passionate about and what makes me jump in with two feet so that she could write an introduction for me. I had written her back and told her that I would answer all these questions about passion in my speech, so I gave her an intro that I knew would give people their first surprise about who I was.

So she introduced me and she says, “Julia is an avid basketball player who on a good day, shoots 60% from outside the 3 point line.” The corner with all the young guys suddenly gets lively and you hear them go, “WHOA!” “She hopes to someday dunk when scientists figure out how to replace body parts bionically. She was the national winner of ESPN’s fantasy basketball last year, and she once used her knowledge of an NBA player’s stats to figure out his weakness and beat him at HORSE.” All the men were looking at me, bug-eyed. When I walked up, it was like I was a celebrity, like they were seeing me in a whole new light. haha, this was only the beginning.

I gave my speech, and there was no fear:

I was born on June 14th, 1978 at 10:55 am. Mom’s an A type. Dad’s an A type…it’s not a good combination. I grew up. Went to various schools. Was told my handwriting sucks and that I’m too fast for the girls, but the boys are too rough for me. I graduated from college at the age of 20 with two degrees, but to be honest, I didn’t really learn anything. I’ve had 5 knee surgeries but I can’t stop playing basketball. I like to play against men because how someone conducts himself when he loses, and how someone conducts himself when he wins, is an excellent indication of character. I’m a compulsive joker. I once told someone I have a photographic memory, but he didn’t believe me after he ran into me the next week and I didn’t remember who he was. I’ve walked into public men’s rooms six times in my life, but only once was intentional and no one said thank you. My two greatest fears are serial killers, and spiders, though a serial killing spider would probably scare me too.

On the flipside, I’m a closet romantic. I like thunderstorms…dreams…how 2am feels…and I’ve never kissed in the rain. I would like to think that there’s more to this world than just what we can see. I listen closely to people when they talk and I ask a lot of questions…not because I’m analyzing them, but because I’m trying to paint a full picture in my mind of the truth and beauty of who they are, flaws and everything.

I can be mentally impatient but emotionally cautious. I’ve been accused of being mysterious. I’ve unconsciously built a maze around myself that can lead people trying to get to know me into dead ends or circles,
but I promise you, my inner world is deep and calm, with a delicate balance, like a rainfilled well on a moonlit night, full of rich colors that I’m more than willing to share with anyone who can actually manage to find me.

My best friend in the world is Michael. Michael is 23 years old, and he’s the first person I ever said I love you to, where I really understood what that meant.

Michael is my little brother…and he’s mentally disabled.

My parents like to tell me that I was very protective of him when we were little, but I don’t remember that.

What I do remember, is the night he climbed up that high swivel chair in the kitchen, and he fell, hitting his head on the sharp metal piece of the chair. I’ll never forget that sound that night…


It was so matter-of-fact. So…unavoidable.

There was so much blood, so much blood. My mom was screaming, she didn’t know what to do. So she goes and gets our next door neighbor who’s a police officer, and he has to call the paramedics. The paramedics come, they take my brother to the hospital, and I don’t remember what happens after that. I guess he was okay, right? Because he lived.

But here’s the thing. A couple of months later, my parents are fighting so they’re not paying attention. Michael climbs up that same chair, and he falls. Again. And it happened so fast, even though I’ve seen this scene before, so I know what happens, I wasn’t fast enough to stop it. I couldn’t catch him. I didn’t catch him.

He falls, smashing his head on the ground and blood starts coming out almost immediately. His whole body is shaking and I can’t even tell if he’s breathing. I get down and put my hands on him to try to stop the shaking, and he looks up at me, his eyes terrified, like he wants me to tell him that everything’s gonna be okay.

But I can’t.

Because I’m convinced that this time, he’s dying for sure, and I can’t believe they let this happen again. This little boy, who has not yet even spoken a single word in his life yet, but who’s all I have in this lonely, lonely world, I think in this very moment, he’s dying in my arms, and there’s NOTHING I can do about it.

I just couldn’t handle it. I just…disappeared. I went…completely. Numb.

I always wonder if he would have grown up normal if we hadn’t let him fall on his head twice, but we’re not allowed to talk about that.

That was over 20 years ago that I lost my faith in life, in people, in a world that made any sense. But I finally woke up this year.

Have you ever tasted freedom? Do you know what it’s like to get a second chance at life? Where you could have resigned yourself to a path you didn’t really want, to a relationship that doesn’t fulfill you, to a job that drains you, but then you wake up one day, you take a look around, and you realize, this doesn’t make any sense. And you say, you know what? I refuse to live another moment in the shadows, in a world of fear or guilt or pain. I’m going to start living my life for myself, and I’m going to let go of everything that’s not fulfilling or that doesn’t make me happy or keeps me back, so that I can pursue what can be amazing, because I deserve it. Show yourself that you’re willing to be kind to yourself and take care of your hopes and dreams first and foremost, and I promise you, it will be a life changing experience.

I believe that so many people go through life numb. There are people, who have been put into a cage and locked in without a choice, like my brother, handicapped from his full potential by his disability. But then there are people, who like I did, will resign themselves to a prison with no lock, just waiting for the day that the world puts a lock on that door so they can say, see? Life was always a losing battle. I never had a chance anyway. But why? Fear? Fear of being free? Fear of having things that could make you happy? Fear of hoping for more, but failing? Of being disappointed? Do we really hate ourselves so much, that we’re not willing to at least try and explore who we really are, and what amazing things we could have in our lives?

They say that public speaking is the number one fear, but what is public speaking but standing in front of a crowd and saying, this is who I am. This is what I think, this is what I believe, and I’m completely vulnerable to your acceptance or your rejection. But what can be so scary about exposing who you really are, that it’s a fear greater than death? It’s because somewhere along the way, we learned that not only is it NOT okay to reveal who we truly are, but that it’s dangerous. So we spend are lives fighting to communicate as truthfully as possible, yet fighting ourselves to not communicate so truthfully, as to reveal too much of ourselves. No wonder we spend our lives so conflicted, so unsure of who we are and what we want. We’re all just hiding.

So let’s break the ice here, and I’ll go first. This…is who I am. You can feel me, not from my words. Not from my life history. Not from the facts and figures that you can list about me like stats on a baseball card. But somewhere in the space between all these things, something truthful in me is communicating to a truthful part of you and it’s saying, hey, let’s put down the weapons. Let’s put down the armor and let’s talk like human beings. Everyone…has pain. The true test of character is how we rise above the ashes of our personal histories to learn to celebrate ourselves, because no one will know how to celebrate you unless you show them how. Every person has a unique path. Every single person just wants to reach out to others and be heard, to be recognized to be assured that they truly exist, and that they are appreciated, that they are loved. Every person, every one of you, has a unique song in your heart that you’re just dying to sing.

So why not just sing it?

I took my time with the speech and I was passionate, radiating from every ounce of me the truth of who I was. People couldn’t take their eyes off me, and some of them were wide-eyed with forks frozen in mid-air. Usually people are eating, writing comments, etc., but the room was still once I started talking about my brother. Even the president of the club, a flamboyant attention-loving man sat there, pale, his eyes wide with his hand covered tightly over his mouth. I looked every single person in the eye, and they knew…I could see them. I could see who was terrified because they had no idea what was happening. I could see who felt called out because they aren’t fulfilling their potential or they’re in unhappy marriages or jobs. I could see who had reached a place of fulfillment, because they were smiling and nodding, and there was pride in their eyes. One woman had tears in her eyes. Even our supposed expert on passion…I spoke towards her a lot and at first she was like, wow, and then near the end, she looked kind of punchdrunk. I thought one guy, this guy from Poland, hated the speech because he kept avoiding eye contact, and I thought, oh crap, he hates this…this is too brutally honest and emotional for him. But it didn’t matter to me. There were people who were listening and feeling the message and those were the only people who mattered.

When I was done, there was great applause but everyone looked shellshocked. I loved it. The toastmaster came up and the room was silent. She stands there, just nodding, then finally says, “Wow.” She says, “Are you sure you’ve never done this before?” And there’s nervous laughter. We take a few moments so people can fill out evaluation cards for me, and I sit there staring down at the table, because I’m feeling shy again, back to my usual public self. I did catch some people just staring off into space, dazed, when I looked up.

I knew I ran long, it was supposed to be a 4-6 minute speech and I went about 10 minutes. You have to stick within your time
limit to qualify for the award for best speaker. But I didn’t care, because I knew I wouldn’t be back. This was my only objective, to see if I had the guts to reveal myself, my inner storm, my passion, my connection to the universe to a group of strangers and change them. I wanted to drop knowledge on them in the form of electricity, and I wanted them to be different from the people they walked in as. I don’t care about learning the structures of formal public speaking at this time. I was learning about the power of truth.

The funny thing was that there were two more speeches after me, and each speaker was really nervous, like their brains were cloudy, so they both ran over the time limit which I’ve never seen happen before. Basically out of 4 speakers, the only one who qualified by staying in the time limit was the girl who went before me. So the toastmaster decided just to qualify all of us, and I won best speaker by vote.

My evaluator had some great comments. He said that he knew I was a writer, so he had very high expectations. He paused and I got nervous because I expected a “but…” But he said, “You completely exceeded every one of my expectations. You went like 40 minutes over the time, but you basically gave us 3 speeches, and all three were excellent. You gave us your Icebreaker, where it was like this spoken word thing where you’re telling us these little facts about yourself that people may not know. And it was cool because you had this riff with numbers going on…5 knee surgeries, 2 degrees…and then you drop into storytelling, about this unbelievably sad, tragic story about your brother. You basically ripped open your chest and showed us every truth and emotion. You could hear a pin drop in here because every person was riveted and captivated by the feelings of this experience. It made me want to go back into my manual and reread the stuff on storytelling, because that was how you do it. And then the 3rd part…holy crap. You turn into this Tony-Robbins Break-Out-of-Your-Prison thing! Everyone could feel the electricity and was with you. Even though you ran way over, it was like we had this experience. We got to know you as someone who’s intelligent, and complex and mostly, very passionate and honest. I think with tonight’s theme of passion, you definitely turned on the juice and that you’ve got plenty more to show us, so I’m excited to see that passion in your upcoming speeches.”

After the meeting, I was still feeling kind of shy so I pulled out my checkbook and started writing a check for my dues. But then a funny thing happened. People lined up to talk to me. The one guy who’s speech I loved last week about how everyone should have kids because they’re amazing and how you should just pick something and fail at it, because everyone should fail sometimes because it’s too hard to try to be perfect all the time. He’s quirky and warm and I loved his style, even though they gave him a hard critique on structure which irritated me. He was one of the people who had watched me the whole time with this proud smile, and he came up and he said what I did was beautiful. I told him I loved his speech last week, and he said, that’s because we’re the same type. And I looked at him, and felt his energy and he was right. He understood that there’s so much more to life than the trivial shit, and that he also knows about spiritual love and the thing that connects us all. That made me feel really good, because it was a spiritual peer acknowledgment. This girl came up and she was a guest. She was really nervous but she told me that she loved my speech and it blew her away, touching her deeply. She said it was amazing to see someone open up their heart that way and just be that vulnerable and honest in a group full of people and she’d never seen anything like it. I thanked her sincerely and told her that means a lot to me, because it really did. She was this beautiful model type, standard LA, someone I would never speak to on the street, maybe out of intimidation, maybe because I wouldn’t be able to imagine we had anything in common, but she was giving me a very real and honest compliment and letting me know that I had connected with her and that she appreciated the experience. That really does mean a lot to me, even though I felt it more than I probably showed it. I think sometimes my politeness covers my emotional shyness.

The guy who didn’t make eye contact who I thought hated my speech…I saw him lurking around. Finally, when there was a window, he slipped up to me, leaned in really close, grabbed my hand and said, “That was incredible. You just raised the bar for all of us…to all the way up here. Thank you for that.” And with that, he left. I realized, he’s shy. It was endearing. Another person I may not have gotten to know out there in day to day life and connected to in this way, under normal circumstances.

The girl who gave the first speech came up and hugged me. She started talking to me about her parents, and how they had always wanted certain things out of her, and expected certain things with her life, but you know what? They’ve had their chance with their own lives. If you didn’t do the things you wanted, then too bad. This is my life and I’m going to do what I want with it. I listened to her and felt good inside. Something had opened up inside of her. She was playing with her inner fire.

I walked out with cute nervous guy. I’ve always liked people who are kind of shy and awkward, because that’s how I perpetually feel when I’m out in public, even though I come off very confident and open. I like going out of my way to make them feel comfortable. I asked him about USC football which is one of his favorite things (though one of my least favorite things!) and it was nice.

I walked out feeling good. Not so much for having gone up and given a speech, but for having done something I’ve never done before…the conversations that I’ve only reserved for people I’ve had deep connections with, the truth and blood and guts of me, I revealed to a group of strangers. And magically, connections arose from it. I know that this wasn’t something that anyone was expecting when they showed up at IHOP last night. But I know that for some people, it was something that will change them, that will make them think about their own lives, about who they want to be and what they want to do. Maybe it’ll be a temporary feeling, when they wake up, it will all seem like a dream or something that was strange and hard to remember. But the message will work in their subconscious. And maybe, if they can get to a better place, a happier place, they’ll pay it forward and set other people free as well.

I slept really poorly last night, and when I woke up, it was already a dream for me. But I know that somewhere, the universe is working and people are opening the doors to their hearts.

The Healer Relationship

One of the things I’m always talking about, is the difference between a healer and a doctor. There are plenty of doctors out there, and they’ve studied the mental/analytical side of healing and hold their textbooks and expert studies supreme. Healers are those who were inherently born into this world with a gift and a purpose, and have strong instincts about how to heal a person holistically, even if it’s not explained in a textbook or seems to contradict accepted knowledge. Healers are few, and just because you’re a doctor, doesn’t mean you’re a healer, though the best doctors are also healers.

There’s something I’ve noticed about the health profession that’s been bothering me for a while and I want to talk about it. There’s a conflict of interest between the doctor as a healer, and the doctor as a businessperson. If a person’s livelihood and wealth depend on the number of patients and the number of treatments, then there’s an inherent conflict of interest in healing their patients quickly and successfully. Yes, I know that doctors take oaths. But how many other professionals also take oaths but are led astray by the need or desire for money? No matter your profession, you’re still human, and human beings have flaws and self-centered desires. So if a doctor prolongs your treatment or doesn’t successfully heal you, either consciously or unconsciously, you’ll keep coming in and spending your money on trying to get well. Even if a doctor doesn’t consciously impede a patient’s healing or give unsuccessful treatment, I wonder if the pressure to have a financially successful practice is a burden on their subconscious that makes them create certain situations without realizing it, like viewing a patient’s malady as mysterious and not being able to figure out a fast and efficient treatment, thus prolonging treatment even though they don’t realize how they are actually contributing to the situation.

Another thing that I’ve noticed in my personal relationships with caregivers, is their reluctance to let go once treatment is ended or no longer pertinent. Sometimes on a personal level, they have trouble letting go. I once bought a therapist in my building coffee because I wanted to talk about his field. Since we were just hanging out and I wasn’t a prospective patient, he gave me the behind the curtain look. First, he told me that new patients were always good because the cost of living is so high now so it’s good news to have more paying patients. He’s a nice guy who seems to have gotten into the field for the right reasons, but he made it sound like new patients didn’t present new professional challenges as much as new “customers.” Then he went into a thing about how if he did it all over, he would go into real estate and make a shitload of money. This made me think about what I had just talked about…how if money weighs so heavily on his head, then if it affects therapy and how often he wants (needs) the patient to come in. They’re basically cash cows…as long as they have something to talk about and work through, then he gets paid consistently. But there’s also another issue–what if you like the patient, come to care for the patient’s drama and become intoxicated by the experience of sharing their discoveries and growth? Even if you know that their major issues are resolved, at what point do you tell a patient that you think they’re ready to end treatment or therapy? Or do you let the relationship drag on until the patient realizes that there’s nothing left here to discover or have fixed? Out of all the therapists and chiropractors I’ve known, only one person has told me that I was done which I really appreciated. Everyone else tells me I have to keep coming in, and it’s indefinite, and sometimes what happens is mostly hanging out and chatting, because there isn’t anything more to be done in terms of healing. So I asked this therapist if it was hard to let go of patients. He got really intense and said, yeah when patients leave, it’s tough. It’s like a break up. And just like a romantic breakup, sometimes people don’t do it the right way. Like they make up a reason to create conflict and then they leave on bad terms. I think maybe a professional caregiver needs to be aware that at the end of the day, no matter how well they connect to a particular patient or how much they like this person, theirs is still a professional relationship and when the work is done, it is their duty to stop the treatment or therapy and let the patient go. I suspect many people don’t do this. I’ve experienced it over and over.

I’ve had this experience with caregivers who get attached to me. They come to really like me, they ask me a lot of personal questions about my life, they tell me about theirs. Sometimes they straight up become romantically interested, and I’ll sidestep that aspect and pretend I don’t realize it; it doesn’t bother me as long as it doesnt’ affect my treatment. But sometimes it does. It’s like all of a sudden, my healing process plateaus or starts going backwards, and they don’t understand it. So we try to work on the issues or the pain more aggressively, but it’s so mysterious, why I’m not getting better. And it always seemed like the doctors involved in these instances, were the doctors who enjoyed my company and felt they had a warm connection with me, or the ones who were romantically interested. Maybe in their not wanting to let go of me, they subconsciously kept me from getting better. I always suspected this, but I never wanted to confront this thought, because it’s a pretty disturbing thought. I have no doubt that it happens and in my life, it did happen with several doctors. I don’t think they were bad people and I don’t think they did it consciously, but it did happen. And when I left them, I quickly and seemingly miraculously got better.

I believe that for you to really get good service in most facets of life,if the service provider respects you and likes you, you will get more. The same as in the health care industry. If a doctor likes you or enjoys having you as a patient, they’ll work harder for you, pay closer attention and take extra time and care to focus on how to make you better. Basically, they’ll give you more healing energy by caring and focusing and really figuring out your individual problem, rather than going through the motions of the textbook and hoping for the best. But there’s such a fine line between them liking you enough to pay special attention to your progress, to them not wanting to let you go and wanting to see you every week. Once that becomes a seed inside them, you’ll see your condition and care deteriorate, though the doctors will become completely baffled by why standard care is no longer working. And they’ll work extra hard to try to help you and tell you that it just takes more time, but at some point, you’ll start to suspect that maybe deep down, the doctor is afraid that if you get better, he’ll have to let you go.

I know that there are a lot of doctors out there who are very good doctors and are consummate professionals. But they’re still humans and I think if you think about your history with doctors and healthcare providers, you’ll remember examples of not getting good treatment because your doctor simply didn’t care, or doctors who were so nice and affable, that even though you sometimes suspected that they were missing things or not doing a good job on you, you would keep going back, almost because you felt bad or didn’t want to believe they weren’t 100% trying to make you better. Maybe they’re completely competent, but something about you or something about themselves is making them unable to heal you. But you have to not just assume that doctors are these professional robots who know everything, and look at them as human beings, and at your relationship as a human relationship. You’ll want to know what the doctors intentions are, and you’ll want to be very cold and practical about analyzing if this person is capable and clearheaded enough to provide you with good care, and if you
r connection can help or hinder the quality and focus of that care.

Visit doctors with your eyes open. Not all doctors are equal, but all doctors are human and are susceptible to human vulnerabilities. Beware if they seem very focused on money, and also beware if you think a warm, personal bond is interfering with the professional care. These are things that can present major conflicts of interest to your getting better.

I think the truth of the human experience is that we’re all just children. No matter what facades and masks we try to put on of being in control, at the core, anyone who’s truthful with himself or herself knows deep down that no one has any clue what’s going on. It’s just the courageous ones who put aside their fear to hold the torch and take the responsibility of leading the rest into the darkness.

People Who Only Believe What They Want to Believe

Okay, I think I figured out what crawled up my butt in regards to the movie, Closer. It has to do with one of the final scenes, when one of the characters is so convinced of something that happened, that he demands the “truth,” but won’t take any other answer other than the one in his head as the truth. Including the actual truth. Even though he’s wrong.

He was so adamant and aggressive that there was no way around it, so the character being harassed just admits to it, even though it’s not true. And I felt so emotionally and psychologically trapped and claustrophobic from the impact of that scene, that I just wanted to run out of the theater and throw a chair through a plate glass window or something just to relieve that inner pressure and discomfort.

One of my biggest triggers has always been when I tell the truth about something and people don’t believe me, acting like they know I’m lying. Being falsely accused, even with the smallest things. It’s even worse if they’re smug about it. They’ve already made up their minds about it, and there’s nothing that you can say to change their minds, even if everything you say and have said was the truth. I used to flip out when I was a kid if I was accused of something I didn’t do. Because you feel so helpless…there is nothing you can say or do that can change that person’s mind, because they’ve already got it made up and it’s the only “truth” that they’ll accept. I would get so angry, like, if you’re just going to assume I did this, I may as well have done it. And it makes me want to go out and do something bad. Because for some reason, Truth is sacred to me, for better for worse, and I can be quite vigilant about it. While Truth can be complex or in the gray area sometimes, I feel strongly that if someone is adamantly holding on to something that is clearly not true, especially if it comes to their perceptions of me or my actions, then I’ve essentially been pegged into a hole that I don’t belong in with no way to get out.

I’m feeling trapped and desperate just talking about this.

It can be something small, like someone thinking you’re just making up an excuse because you don’t want to hang out, or that you’re mad at them even when you’re not. Or something big, like someone claiming that you stole something. Because you essentially have no way to prove otherwise if this person has made up his or her mind that this is the truth, even though they’re wrong.

Maybe I was falsely accused of a crime in a past life and punished for it or something. But all I know is that consistently over my life, nothing makes me feel more afraid, more helpless, more angry, more violent, than when people don’t believe me when I’m telling the truth or when people accuse me of something that isn’t true.

11/30 Recap

Oh hell yeah! 11/30. The last day of November. It’s beautiful, isn’t? Let’s get rid of these dark thoughts and move on to sunnier days. It’s been a hell of a month, hasn’t it? We had to look at the underbelly of things. Of our lives. Our relationships. Who are we? What is love? What the hell are we doing in this place, granted with the sudden, unexpected responsibility of life?

God, I had to face some ghosts. Didn’t you? But you know what? At the end of the day, there’s always something to live for. Wanting to know the next page of this book.To be surprised by the possibility of love around the corner. Of the good in people. Of a day when you can feel that what you do and who you are really matters in this world. And we all got through it. And that’s seriously something awesome.

So I’m sitting here, doing some writing, listening to my Ambulance LTD CD. It’s so, so good. It’s what Keane is to Brian. Something about it, I just emotionally gravitate towards it. And I was just thinking that…life is good. I love the little roller coasters that life brings. Each month with its flavors, its sweet highs and richer lows.

I’ve been reading a wide variety of books lately and I love how all these people, these writers , have such different voices. Personalities. You end up trying to imagine what kind of person the writer is. It’s kind of why I like blogs. You see the inner workings of so many different types of people. It’s a way of psychically traveling, experiencing far away things, mystical things. It’s hypnotic, the way looking in a kaleidoscope was mesmerizing for us when we were kids.

I feel terrible about my work situation. Everything in life is just a relationship, you know? All relationships are degreed mirrors of each other. The dynamic between my company and I are like, they want me to care more and invest more of my attention on them, but I just won’t. I can’t find it in me because I just don’t love them and even when I try, my heart is not in it. And so they’re offering me gifts to get me to commit to them, but I just can’t. And it’s not fair to string them along. But I don’t know how to say to them that I’m so, so sorry, but I just don’t care enough about the company. They’re so afraid I’ll leave. But I’m just not into it and I think it’s dragging them down. Fuckwittage. Like Helen Fielding would say. I feel guilty because I feel like I’m fucking with them, that sensitive bunch. Nice, nice people though.

Ah, I’m going to try harder. Because I want to be fair to them.

Thought of the day:

It’s the people who possess the most fear who also possess the most sorcerous and instinctual ability to scare. For me, this was kind of a scary thought to mull over.

“Learn to detach…Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent… But detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate fully. That’s how you are able to leave it… Take any emotion–love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, or what I’m going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions–if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them–you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that love entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.'”
~ Mitch Albom

from Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson