If I Only Knew Then..

Things I wish I could tell my pre-employed self:

1.  Never rush through work, you will only get punished with more work and picking up the slack of others

2. Don’t let anyone talk you into a promotion you don’t want

3. If a job has you literally going crazy, having panic attacks or not sleeping, just quit. Something better will come along.

4. Think about what you really want to be doing all day every day, pick something you will not get tired of

5. Make your work life as tranquil as you can. No need to work to death, unless you own the company.

6. No boss should expect unquestionable perfection, you are a human being, not a machine.

7. Keep your work/life balance in mind always, keep your home life and peace of mind sacred.

8. Don’t work for anyone who doesn’t let you eat lunch in peace.

9. Gossip and most work socializing will waste your time and make you look unprofessional.

10. Music helps the day go by faster if you’re stuck doing something you don’t want to do.

11. Think seriously about what brings you joy, and how you can make that your  living. Don’t live a lie.

12. Don’t work for someone you don’t respect.

13. Follow only your own definition of success. Being balanced and healthy and feeling useful matter, not fancy job titles or high salaries. Think about the quality of life you want.

14. Prove yourself and you abilities, but don’t overdo it.

15. Keep your dreams in mind and take small steps each day toward achieving them.

16. Believe in yourself, you are capable of more than you can imagine.

17. Communicate and delegate work if you feel overwhelmed. Don’t suffer in silence.

18. Remember that most people are stressed/busy/tired or all of the above, have patience.

19. Use all of your vacation time.

20. Help others find their way in the working world, it is satisfying to know you can lend a hand by referring them to a job opening, letting them list you as a referral, etc. This can also help you down the road.

May 30, 2013. Tags: , , . writing. 2 comments.

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for”

I found that quote (title of post) on this website the other day: http://www.astrologyandbeyond.com/ and it really struck me. It was said by Sir John Lubbock. It’s really worth pondering.

I read what is probably the single most inspiring book I have ever gotten my hands on in my life. It’s written mostly for women, but I think anyone can benefit from its message. It has a really dumb title, God on a Harley (please don’t let that fool you) and it’s by Joan Brady. I don’t even remember how I came across this book from researching another book online a long time ago, but the reviews always stayed in my head.

People claimed this book had changed their lives and that they had bought several copies for friends who had thanked them for doing so. It’s a really short and very affordable. I got my copy at Barnes and Nobles for $6.99.

It’s a spiritual book, but not preachy. And it doesn’t cater to any particular religion, just a sense of a higher power than us. I recommend this book very highly to anyone who needs a bit of inspiration in their lives. It gave me this sense of peace inside me like nothing else ever has. Hope you’ll give it a look.

Here is the book description from amazon.com:

At thirty-seven, Christine Moore had a world-class case of burnout: frustrating career, a few dead-end romances, and a less-than-perfect figure. Little did she know her life was about to change completely….

“Come out of the shadows, Christine. You’ve spent far too much time hiding in shadows.” The man who spoke to her was gorgeous — long sable hair, faded T-shirt, black motorcycle jacket — all astride a 1340cc Harley-Davidson, mysteriously parked on a moonlit beach near her home. Christine was inexplicably drawn to this stranger — who seemed to know everything about her — and as a sweet serenity settled over her, she surrendered to his words: “We have a lot of work to do, but it won’t feel like work. It will feel quite wonderful.”

So begins Christine’s journey, a voyage of the spirit that frees her to appreciate each precious moment of life — and reveals to her six wondrous precepts that lead to the deepest peace and fulfillment we can ever know. For every woman whose heart has ever been broken, but who believes in her soul that real happiness can be found, God On A Harley has arrived. Need a lift?

May 30, 2013. Tags: , , . books. Leave a comment.

Invite More Luck

(Entry  below was written on 6/14/2006)

I once heard that if ever you find a lost key in a public place, you should always pick it up and keep it with you. It is a sign; it’s your key to something you have been seeking. I forgot where I read or heard that, but I never forgot it.

I found a small key today during my lunch break. There are some big fountains nearby where I work and surrounding the fountains is a flat short wall where people often sit for lunch. It’s facing a deli that has outdoor seating.

Once I sat for lunch I noticed a small brilliant silver key near me on the wall. There were people sitting beside me on either side but neither of them seemed to notice it or could’ve been the ones to drop it. It was a little bit dirty and did not have a key ring attached to it. It looked as if it had been there for a while.

It has a small round top with a hole that is pretty big for the size of the overall key. It struck me as unique because it looks like a child’s diary key or like a key for a safe deposit box. It’s super small. I picked it up and cleaned it off a little (after eating my lunch of course) and put it in my pocket.

I think the hole in the key is big enough for me to place it on a chain and wear it as a pendant, so maybe I’ll do that and it will bring me luck. I’m sure I have an unused silver chain lying around that will fit it. For now I have the key in the change part of my wallet, in a flap separate from my change.

I’m always looking for silly, superstitious ways to invite more luck into my life. It can’t hurt to believe in a special talisman placed at the just the right time for only you to find and keep. Sorry to anyone out there in NYC if this is your key that I stole. It was so cute I just had to take it.

May 28, 2013. Tags: , . writing. Leave a comment.

Blessings and Miracles

I’m currently rereading The way to love; the last meditations of Anthony De Mello and it’s because of the following passage. This paragraph turned my day around and made it bright again:

“Third, spend some time observing the things and people around you. Look, but really look, as if for the first time, at the face of a friend, a leaf, a tree, a bird in flight, the behavior and mannerisms of the people around you. Really see them and hopefully you will see them afresh as they are in themselves without the dulling, stupefying effect of your ideas and habits.”

When I first read this book, this passage is what stayed with me, haunted me. And reminded to always see the world and everyone with fresh eyes, as if for the first time. Of course, reading the book as a whole, slowly, is much better.

I’ve always been aware and grateful for all the blessings in my life, and now even more I can see how abundant and beautiful life is, with all the things it holds for me to still discover.

There’s no feeling like forming a new friendship with someone and getting their take on the world, or doing something different to break your routine, or reading an amazing book, or listening to music you’ve never heard before and getting a glimpse of the singer’s view of the world, or reading a friend’s writing and discovering a whole other side of them you never knew, or creating a piece of art or writing that is all your own, or having that experience of someone opening up to you and trusting you.

All those little things can feel like miracles, if you stop to take note of them. The world becomes a very different place when you change your perspective. I still have my bad days and sad days, but I know that there’s another way to feel, and I don’t get stuck in one state of mind.I know it passes and I can get out of it and feel better again.

May 27, 2013. Tags: , , . writing. 1 comment.

Les Miserables on Screen

I finally had a chance to watch Les Miserables, the movie, this morning, after having wanted to see it since it came out on Christmas in 2012. Though it was a bit long, it was still very enjoyable and entertaining. The casting was inspired. I remember seeing Hugh Jackman up close on Broadway back when he starred in the play, The Boy from Oz. He was truly amazing and talented and I can understand his casting for the lead role of Jean Valjean.

The other leads were also great, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks. All were believable and played their parts with so much heart. It was only Russell Crowe who kind of bothered me. He was OK in some scenes, but in others, his lack of emotion took me out of the story.

Having scene Les Mis only on Broadway a few times, it was much easier to see it on screen played out by this case because I was able to better understand the story and the plights of the characters. I’m glad the movie was made and the songs are always a treat. I have always loved On My Own and Castle on a Cloud. Those are the ones I remember all the lyrics to and love to listen to again and again. And of course, I dreamed a dream. Almost every song is great, including Hugh Jackman’s interpretation of Who am I?

The story centers around Jean Valjean, a criminal who just got through serving 19 years in jail for a stolen piece of bread. He is hunted relentlessly for years by Javert, the policeman character played by Crowe. Jean Valjean starts out a thief but then struggles to redeem and recreate himself. After escaping parole, he resurfaces years later as a wealthy businessman and mayor, and the Fantine is one of the women who work for him in a factory.

Hathaway plays Fantine with such devotion and despair that it really moves you. She wholly embodies the part and makes you feel all her emotions, much as she did with her role in the movie, Rachel getting Married, a role that also earned her an Oscar nomination. She looks startlingly thin in Les Miserables, as she purposely lost 25 pounds to play Fantine when she is ill and dying.

Fantine gets thrown out of the factory where she works and is reduced to selling her hair, her teeth and her body in order to support her young daughter, who lives with a pair of unscrupulous innkeepers. Valjean takes pity on her and decides to take her daughter, the young Cosette, under his care. He raises her and protects her all her life, keeping his promise to Fantine that she will be looked after. Years later we see a grown Cosette, still with Valjean.

Amanda Seyfried plays Cosette as an adult. Seyfried’s voice is perfect for what this role entails. She plays Cosette with innocence, but also power.  And her voice is strong, clear and extremely beautiful. I found it hard to believe she was actually singing live as all the actors were required to do for this film.

The story turns then to focus on a group of students who lead the charge in the French Revolution, among them a young man named Marius, who falls in love with Cosette at first sight. I found their love story to be very romantic and the unrequited love of Eponine (for Marius) to be heartbreaking as always. This is an epic story that will sweep you away.

I found the extra features to be enlightening as well. They go into the motivations of Jean Valjean, who Jackman explains as a man wanting to constantly become a better person and do what God expects of him. He explains that theme as something most people can relate to. The desire to redeem oneself in the eyes of God, and do the right thing. The extras also go into the life of Victor Hugo who wrote the book Les Miserables, and it was amazing to learn of all that he had accomplished in his lifetime.

I highly recommend this movie. It’s a pure escape with beautiful music, beautiful scenery and talented, emotional actors. I definitely shed tears during many scenes, and you probably will too.

les_miserables_ver11

May 26, 2013. Tags: , , . movies. 2 comments.

The Passion of Writing

(Entry below was written on January 15, 2009)

My day job allows for very little, if any, creativity and thought. The most I will have to do is create a spreadsheet, diagram, or summarize meeting notes. Not very thrilling.

If I had it my way, I would get paid to write all day. I would write whatever I want to: poems, plays, essays, blogs, articles. who knows? Maybe I would even attempt a book. I would take writing courses, join critique groups, maybe self-publish a poetry chapbook.

Writing is my passion and it would be nice to live my days just doing that. I think I would be in my element; completely happy and using my mind in a creative way, and it would be relaxing at the same time.

Another great thing about writing is the solitude. The slowing down and inner reflection. These things are impossible in a bright, harsh, sometimes loud office setting filled with electronic devices.

In this setting there are often annoying personalities sitting in close proximity to you, allowing you precious little time to really think, to get your work done properly without distractions, and to get at least 2 things done without the phone ringing off the hook. Writing for a living would be like playtime. It would be light and carefree, solitary and peaceful. But still productive, engaging and fun.

I want a room with a view, a room of my own, a la Virgina Wolfe who said that a woman needs a room of her own in order to write. I can’t seem to think right today.  I am all over the place and it doesn’t feel right. It’s hard to explain. Maybe my shadow self is slowly trying to take over..

May 23, 2013. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

How to Find Blogging Ideas

1. Reading the paper

2. Overhearing conversations

3. Movie concepts

4. Reading other blogs

5. Reflecting on life

6. Family events

7. Things that anger you

8. Things that surprise you

9. Things you’re curious about

10. Coping with setbacks

11. Things you find inspiring

12. Poetic images

13. Fantasies, dreams and explorations

14. A unique event or person you encounter

15. Life in your city

16. Weird/funny/insightful comments people make

17. The world you observe

18. People’s behaviors

19. Noting your goals and accomplishments

20. Music and its messages

21. Meditation and Spirituality

22. Intriguing personalities-celebrities or unknowns

23. Changes you have undergone

24. Hopes for the future

25. Things that fascinate you

May 23, 2013. Tags: , , , . writing. 2 comments.

Friends, Fears, Introversion

The other night I saw some of the movie Jennifer’s Body on TV. It played on a Spanish language channel and was overdubbed in Spanish, which was kind of amusing.

Megan Fox and I have certain things in common. She has been quoted as saying that she has no friends and never leaves her house. This allows her to stay away from the horrors of Hollywood. She also has a fear of flying, and says she listens to Britney Spears music to stay calm while on a flight because she knows it’s not her destiny to die while listening to Britney Spears.

That may seem odd to people, but it makes sense if you have certain fears like this. You have to sort of trick yourself into staying calm. I feel the same way about Madonna’s music. When I listen to it I feel completely calm, because it takes me to another time in my life when I didn’t have fears or stresses.

I’m glad I’m not the only person who doesn’t feel the need for friendships. Luckily for her, her looks allow her to have a husband who overlooks this personality flaw, if you want to call it that. He loves her and married her anyway. I hope one day for the same, even though I don’t resemble Megan Fox at all. At least it’s nice to know that it’s possible to have a husband who cares only for you as a person, and not how social you are in the rest of your life.

Some people just don’t have the gift for socializing. It’s a skill that some people have and others don’t. Maybe it’s just a matter of time, until I feel more confident in who I am. I don’t know. But friendships take work to maintain and for me, I just don’t know how to make them happen and make them last. It’s been a lifelong struggle.

Some people are just introverted and social contact drains them. They live more inside their own minds than out in the real world, and there really isn’t anything wrong with that. It takes all kinds of people to make up the world, otherwise it would be a pretty boring place. There’s no reason to fight against your own nature or who you are. I spent a long time feeling inferior to extroverted people, but I’m going to stop, because no one is any better or worse. We are all just different, unique individuals.

May 22, 2013. Tags: . movies, writing. 2 comments.

Review of Inferno by Dan Brown

Some things in this review may be considered spoilers..

Over the rainy weekend, instead of going out, I stayed in and read through Dan Brown’s Inferno in about 2 and a half days. It was a fast-paced, entertaining read and I enjoyed the story much more than the story of his last novel, The Lost Symbol. The plot left me with some questions at the end, but the action was engrossing and entertaining.

Once again, there were a lot of descriptions of artworks, famous historical locales in Venice, Italy and Istanbul, and many chase scenes moving the story forward. The artistic and historical references may not be interesting to all, but I found them to be fascinating because I very much enjoy art history and literature.

The story is essentially a mystery that pulls you in immediately. Robert Langdon and Sienna Brooks (a doctor) are in a race to find a dangerous chemical weapon hidden by an evil scientist who is obsessed with the dangers of overpopulation on earth.

People have hidden agendas, as in previous Dan Brown novels, and not everyone is who they claim to be. Along the way, they encounter the head of the WHO (World Health Organization) and a man name the provost, the head of a secret organization helping the villain in his efforts.

The premise is an intriguing one, and can be a bit scary when the world of the future is compared to hell as depicted in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the first part of The Divine Comedy, in which Dante describes all the levels of hell (as he imagines it) as he descends to the lowest level. He eventually writes about getting to purgatory and then heaven. But hell is the novel’s central theme.

The short chapters make you want to keep reading to get answers and see it all unfold. Some things seemed a bit contrived, like a chase scene through a museum where Robert Langdon just happens to know secret passageways not known to the general public. He had learned about these secret doors/hidden rooms during a ‘secret passageway’ tour he took at another point in time, which I found awfully convenient for his escape from authorities chasing after him.

The thrill of this book is that it’s constantly raising questions. Brown gives you just a hint of information (a small clue to the big mystery) that makes you want to keep reading to see what happens. This method is very effective and show a lot of skill. The novel is very finely tuned. But will leave you with some questions of your own.

For example, why did Dr. Sienna Brooks need to be described as beautiful and attractive, if the only part of her personality that would come into play was her intellect? This is not a romance novel where we need to root for a beautiful heroine and happily ever after.

And this question was really bugging me: why did the evil scientist mastermind (threatening to unleash a plague on the world) wear a plague mask in his ominous video? (When you get to the end and realize what his virus actually does, you will understand this question). Maybe it was just to seem more menacing?

It was not to hide his identity since he removes it at the end of the video. It didn’t make any sense. Maybe I need to reread some parts to see if I missed anything. I could not put the book down and maybe when I was sleepily reading at 2:30am, some of these things were made more clear in the text.

It’s very easy to imagine this story playing out on the screen as a major film. And I would want to see it in live action like The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, if only to see if the way I imagined it is the way the author intended. And the scenery/art/locations described in the book are just begging for a theatrical depiction.

Dan Brown supposedly said there were talks to make this book into a movie, and hopefully the treatment of it is better than Angels and Demons, where the movie left out the central point to all the action.

dbinferno

May 20, 2013. Tags: , . books. Leave a comment.

Feel Better Now

Tonight I remembered why I haven’t been feeling my best lately, and it’s because I haven’t been doing the following things enough over the past few days:

1. being grateful for all that I have
2. cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes followed by a hot shower
3. meditation
4. listening to music
5. being aware of my thoughts
6. getting enough sleep

So today I did some catching up. After running a few errands and having dinner, I exercised and meditated. I plan to attend a small writing group tomorrow that I have never been to before. The weather is supposed to be very nice so I’m looking forward to that. When you work from home, it can be easy to forget that there is a great big world out there full of interesting people and places to go to observe people.

I’m already getting into the new book by Dan Brown called Inferno which I bought last night, immediately after reading the sample I downloaded. I’ll write up a review once I finish it which will probably be very soon! Dan Brown novels are hard to put down and very intriguing, so I’m sure this one will be the same.

It’s a shame that really good moods pass by just like bad moods do. The trick is to watch your mind and its tendencies, and to do what your body tells you to do. If it’s feeling restless, then exercise in some way. Go for a walk, a hike, a bike ride, a run. Something to get the blood circulating and the heart rate up. If your body is exhausted, then sleep. No need to complicate things. Feed your body if it feels hungry.

If your feeling bored, give your mind some stimulation with a good book or a break from your routine. If your mind is overwhelmed and stressed, then slow yourself down, take some deep breaths and listen to your thoughts in a detached way. Or just focus on the feeling of a deep breath. Center yourself and just allow yourself to be.

I remember watching a documentary about a fashion designer (I forget who it was now). He said something very wise. He said “If you don’t take care of your mind, your body will react. If you don’t take care of your body, your mind will react.” And it’s the absolute truth. They should be taken care of equally in order for a person to feel balanced, whole, and well.

May 16, 2013. Tags: , , , , . writing. Leave a comment.

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