[Self Discovery] The 10 Things Great Minds Do For Each Other

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
– Albert Schweitzer 

Our twenties is a time of self-exploration and discovery. It’s a  rite of passage and mental manifest destiny we’re all forced to come to terms with once we enter “the real world” and figure out what it means to be a contributing member of the community, or on a more global scale – a contributing member of the human race. These are the years that we change jobs, cities, significant others, interests and musical taste as frequently as we change socks.  Just like there are laws of physics, there are also laws in the physics of our mentality: external change catalyzes internal change and propagates our growth as individual.  We need to remember that it’s not selfish to take an adjustment period to get reacquainted with your life, it’s honest; because if you can’t take a moment’s appreciation for your newly acquired situation – was there really a point?

As we work our way back into the folds of life, back into social circles and bar scenes – you have a unique opportunity to look at things with a fresh perspective. Sometimes, that perspective pulls you out of prior relationships as it pulls you into new ones – and it’s helpful to know what qualities to keep around in a person, and what to avoid.  I’ve seen (and read) a heaping dose of articles on toxic friendships lately, and just like a regular friendship – that’s a two way street, too. Whether it’s actively toxic, or passively toxic (read: enabling).For a toxic friendship to persist, both parties have to be engaging in toxic behavior.  If you’re an emotional hypochondriac and sit there using those traits as a litmus test, solemnly and discretely analyzing your relationships – you’ll probably think there’s at least one person in your world that’s ‘detrimental to your existence‘.  Instead of trying to find the negative, I want to look at the positive; if small minds tear each other down, great minds should build each other up. So, I’ve come up with a little list of qualities that you should both look for in others and manifest in yourself.

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The 10 Things Great Minds Do For Each Other

1. Encourage Growth

A good friend not only accepts you for who you are but challenges you to become the person you want to be (not the person that they want you to be) by allowing you to challenge the limits of  your comfort zone.

2. Focus on the Positive

Life follows a stereotypical pattern of twists and turns that translate into a sine curve of highs and lows. We need to both celebrate our victories and acknowledge when things aren’t up to par – but unless you’re actively working on improving something in yourself, marinating on the negative isn’t going to get you anywhere but stuck in a negative feedback cycle.  And they’re as equally detrimental to ourselves as the people around us.  Humans aren’t magnets. Negative doesn’t attract positive; positive attracts positive; you’ll get back from the universe exactly what you put into it.

3. Allow You to be Wrong

As a species, we don’t have all the answers yet – so it’s silly to think that any one individual does, either. We need to allow ourselves to be wrong in the pursuit of what is right – through empirical evidence and healthy, intelligent debate with our peers.

4. Laugh With You, Not at You

First things first, your friends should have a sense of humor.  If they don’t, there actually might be something wrong with them and you should probably should just stop talking to them all together.  Anyways, I digress. Funny happens all the time and I’ve actually laughed out loud at myself before, but when a friend actively pursues a facet of your life for their enjoyment, it might be time to cut them loose.  A good friend can find humor in the moment, but knows how to let it go and not project the humor onto you.

5. Emotionally Supportive

When life turns sour, it helps having people around that bring over vodka when all you have are lemons.  But, depending on the situation – some friends might become Negative Nancy and have nothing nice to say, a few will turn the conversation to their life and their problems (which of course, still matter – but this isn’t the time or place for it) and others will simply dip out of your life.  The positive influences in your life will find a way to give – whether its their ear, a shoulder to cry on or a couch to sleep on and silence is golden, especially when someone is at their most vulnerable.

6. Give Space When Necessary

When Galileo discovered that there was a flaw in the geocentric model, there was an uproar.  Sometimes, when people come to the realization that the world is about more than just them, they react the same way.  Everyone has a personal universe to deal with that we simply can’t know everything about.it.  We have to learn to respect boundaries and allow the people in our lives to cultivate their own worlds.

7.  Brainstorm Solutions

One of the greatest things about having a group of peers is that you get to constantly crowdsource solutions. Is your boss being too hard on you? How do you train for a marathon? Should you move to a new city?  These are all things we deal with in our life and we should feel confident that we can reach out to the people in our lives in search of our own answers.  A good friend will engage you and play devil’s advocate to get down to the root of your question.

8. Constructive Criticism

It’s okay to have an standpoint on a person, and often there’s a time and place to voice it – but unless you can find a proactive way to express it, you should probably keep it to yourself.  If you’re forming a negative opinion on someone’s life, make sure it’s not a mirror that you’re holding to your own.  Instead, take a step back from the friendship and really examine what’s bothering you.

9. Value Time

Time is valuable, and other people’s time – doubly so.  A good friend understands that everyone has their own time table and own rate of life, we simply don’t all move at the same pace in life.  So, when it comes to hanging out and getting together – they’ll let you know when they’re running late and are conscious that your time matters, too.

10. Inspire Greatness

We’re all made of stardust, and I truly believe that within each of us – there’s something amazing.  When a beautiful soul meets another, they burn brighter together – just like when two candles meet.  They listen to your ambitions, goals and lofty visions. Instead of diminishing you, or them, they’ll encourage you to chase down your dreams and convert them to reality.

I hope you guys all have friends in your life like this, because I know I do.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art….
It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
– C.S. Lewis –

[The Audiofiles] Putting A New Spin on Some Old Favorites

I don’t know about y’all, but there’s nothing quite as sweet as a track that I loved in my youth getting a proper revamp for 2014.  From strong female vocalists to timeless basslines, funky breakdowns and catchy choruses – these tracks had it all back in the day, and now thanks to  exquisite ears, their new sounds more than hold their own against the original tracks (truth be told, I actually like them better).  In my opinion, and in your dictionary, a remix is a piece of work designed to sound different than the original; let’s be real, if all you’re doing is enhancing the ‘four to the floor beat’, I probably won’t appreciate the artistic quality of your work.  Another pet peeves in remixes is when the vocals are either eliminated or reduced to a repetitive whimper.  So, when artists come along and do a song absolute justice – I definitely notice.  The remixes below have completely blown me away, so whether you’re wishing Wednesday was over – or you’re happily plodding through the day, take a listen these kickin’ remixes and take a load off, it’s halfway to Friday  !

[Self Discovery] The 7 Questions That Tell You Who You Are

Slowly but surely, Self Discovery has become one of my favorite topics to blog about; as a writer, I feel like I’m on a perpetual quest to fully understand myself – whether its through past actions, interpolations of my psyche or concerning my dreams, I’m 110% invested in becoming a better person.

For the duration of 2013, my life has invoked the theme of change – and when I compare the woman I’ve become to the young girl that I used to be, I notice a world of a difference.  To boot, over Thanksgiving my family has more than confirmed this. And now, with the combined forces of my birthday last weekend and turning 30 next year, it’s only right that I decide on my direction.

When I was younger, I had this idea that we should all be able to be like trees – plant roots, divvy up your strengths between the branches, water yourself with knowledge and subsequently watch each and every facet of our live thrive at once. But, the older I become the more I’ve been made aware that we need paths and purpose – we’re less like trees and more like flowers. When roses are plucked for a bouquet, you don’t uproot the whole bush and you don’t take every flower: you go to the healthiest, most beautiful bud with the most potential and you cultivate it. That’s life.

One of the issues with figuring out where you’re going is to have a firm grasp on where you currently stand and in my opinion, this is one of the best emotional inventory’s around.  I have these ideas and dreams for where I’m going with my life, and this survey is at the cornerstone of it all.  So enjoy, then delve into your own mind – you never know what answers you’ll give yourself!

1. What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to pay the bills?

There are so many things and ideas that rush through my mind with this question that I wanted to give it some proper time to set in: don’t have to pay the bills? How ideal – how freeing, and how incredibly wonderful!  I’d spend my mornings writing and spilling feelings from my fingers.  My deepest thoughts, my musings on life, the latest and greatest in the music industry, etc – and I’d share them with the world, forging connections and engaging the community at the same time.  With the new-found love of DIY projects that I’ve developed,  having all that free time would give me a chance to dive deeper into them, and give me time to develop a non-profit that specializes in animal assisted therapy and focuses on mental health awareness.  And my nights – oh, my nights – they’d be spent in the middle of a crowded dance floor surrounded by friends and amazing music.

At the end of the day, the one thing that keeps me going is my love of writing and the way music makes my brain, body and soul melt into the moment.  My current gig with The DJ List might not pay my salary, but it gives me something to look forward to and puts my hand directly in the EDM cookie jar, so to speak.  As much as my job at Disney is rewarding, it’s equally frustrating – but it gives me the chance to excel at a hobby and I’m so damn grateful that I’ve had the chance to cultivate both opportunities.

2. What cuts you the deepest?

Dishonesty; I would much rather be forced to swallow the hard truth than be misled by an appeasing lie. Cruel people; life is difficult for all of us, why make it more difficult because you’d rather project your life’s insecurities – emotionally or physically – on others instead of dealing with them in your own personal time.  None of us have as much time on the planet as we would like to do the things we want to do, so make life enjoyable for those around you – either by contributing something positive, or simply by leaving them alone.  

3. If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

I’d wake up at the crack of dawn and watch the sunrise from the Mulholland / Hollywood Bowl Overlook and while the sun scattered rays over the city, I’d be penning letters to my family and friends, remind them how beautiful an opportunity life is and how mine was transformed by each of them.  After I mailed the letters, I’d head over to Venice Beach and gallivant through the menagerie of weirdness that it offers – then it’s off to the airport to head to Vegas, because I love the lights and culture of the city.  I’d go to one last amazing show at Light, dance, dance, dance to my heart’s desire – then it’s back to the airport. I’d book a first class flight for my closest friends and I to go to Japan, immerse ourselves in culture and gorge to our delight in sushi, my last bite to eat would be blowfish – but I wouldn’t eat it there.  I’d take it under a cherry blossom tree, curl up in the warmth of my memories – and slip away with a smile.

4. Who do you love and why do you love them?

Being human is amazing, not only because we contain a sense of self – but because that sense of self contributes to a sense of well being in others – and that leads to love.  Not to say animals, plants, minerals can’t feel love – but when you can’t quantify consciousness, it’s pretty damn difficult to come to any conclusion pertaining to emotional state. Humans, we feel – we connect and forge relationships with vigor.  I love my parents because regardless of my mistakes, they support me becoming the person I wish to become and that selfless love is something I will never get from anyone else; I love my step-mother doubly so for that very reason, because she owes me absolutely nothing and gives me everything. I love my cats because they are a constant reminder that life is bigger than just me, they give me unconditional cuddles and affection and warm my world every time I return home. I love my best friends because they allow me to be apologetically myself; and I love my boyfriend because he’s always in my corner, as both my best friend and my love. Last, but definitely not least – I love myself – I’ve learned how to live alone and be alone in a city that can swallow your dreams and spit out your soul; I learned how to love, and lose, and love myself without a downward spiral; and I’ve learned that I can depend on the people around me, because those people from my past don’t dictate who the future brings into my life.

5. What do you quote?

I quote books – movies – authors – lyrics; I live and breathe music and words, especially of the poetic variety, speak to my heart.  I quote numbers, figures and statistics because that’s what my brain retains the best. And I quote my friends, because they’re some of the funniest mother fuckers on this beautiful, blue planet.

6. In those rare but life-changing moments, how do you act?

Over the past few years, I’ve had more than one life-changing moment.  Each time I do, I become transfixed then transformed; like an anxious caterpillar becoming a beautiful butterfly.  I’ve been more than thrilled at my out-of-body response to some momentarily traumatic and stressful situations and have continually come out on top.  Thank goodness.

7. What do you think about most?

I spend a lot (maybe, too much) time thinking about what’s next and then, there I am – reminiscing about the past.  What’s failed, what could I have done differently, what will I repeat and what will I learn to not repeat?  I’m a creature of habit that doesn’t seem to make the same mistakes twice, but even once – for some, is haunting.  And often, I feel like I’m haunted by my hindsight and overshadowed by the what-if mentality I carry about my future. I think about the well being of the people in my life that I love; I think about the well  being of people I’ve had falling outs with.  I think about the family and life that I want for my future self; I consider my current job situation and if that’s truly where my heart is. I wonder what else I could have studied and where else I could be in my life…possibly too much for my own good. I think about weather patterns, mathematical and physical laws, philosophy and astronomy. I’m curious, and as my understanding goes – curiosity killed the cat; it’s all to apparent that I overthink,  but hey, at least that makes up for the people that don’t.

[Self Discovery] Let Carl Jung Tap Into Your Subconscious

Leave it to me to be enthralled by online personality tests but come the fuck on, how could you not be.  One of the best things about the internet is the infinite amount of information (and misinformation) at your fingertips.  Pair that with humanity’s never-ending semi-narcissistic quest to understand yourself and – voila – more personality tests than you could shake a stick at.

As with anything free, you get what you pay for and c’est la vie.  That said, online personality tests range from interesting to absolutely ridiculous.  For every applicable test from Carl Jung or Sigmund Freud there are no kidding at least a hundred tests that label you with an anime character or your 80’s theme song.   Now, nothing against the amusement and entertainment of the ridiculous tests that help you blow off steam and share some laughs – but at the end of the day, my version of self improvement stems from something a little more substantial.  Personal growth and self-evolution should be a natural part of life, not something we whimsically run and hide from and only pay attention to when absolutely necessary.

When I was a young, impressionable high school student – one of my best friends approached me with a personalty test that I still use to this day.  It’s short, sweet and simple – just the way these personality inventories should be.  Little did I know this test came from the mastermind of Jung himself, but it completely makes sense when you consider his background in art and color therapy. Now, I haven’t used it in a very long time so this will be just as fun for me as it will for the rest of you.

This is a great test for a lazy night at home with your significant other, a family vacation or simply a lazy afternoon at the office.  Put simply, as humans we’ve sprawled the seas and marched across the world so the last feasible manifest destiny is of the mind – and what better way to get to know the world around you than getting to know yourself just a little bit better?  So, whip out a pen and a piece of paper and write down the first thing that comes to mind for each item – then hit the jump to see how you stack up.

1. First, name a color. Any color.
1a.

2. Now think of three words that describe that color.
2a.
2b.
2c.

3. Name an animal. Any animal.
3a.

4. Now think of three words that describe that animal.
4a.
4b.
4c.

5. Name a body of water.
5a.

6. Name three adjectives describing it.
6a.
6b.
6c.

7. Imagine you’re in a room. All the walls are white and there are no windows or doors. In three words, describe how that room feels to you.
7a.
7b.
7c.

Follow the jump once you’re done – then the fun part begins!

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