… from the bungalow


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Start small: you need only to love

“If I represent this, then I must represent that, and if I represent that, I need to follow the train of logic that supports this, that, and the other thing. And oh my glob, I’m just going to have to include every aspect of human knowledge of all time just to do this the right way and be taken seriously!”

Wanting to leave your mark on the world can feel like an overwhelming responsibility. Here’s what I’m realizing:

Your contribution to the world doesn't have to be grandiose, and it doesn't have to be perfect. It needs only to be loving.

If you’re a perfectionist or easily overwhelmed, I hope this provides some sense of ease for you. Let go of the idea that you have to do more of something, learn more about everythingor wait for anything.

Stop waiting and start living.

Love,
Chris

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Movember Madness or: Why I didn’t do the ‘stache

Surely, you’ve noticed the mustachioed men (and women and children and pets and cars and coffee mugs and fingernails and …). You probably know what that’s about. If you don’t, here’s some info about Movember. (I particularly recommend browsing member-submitted photos.)

movember

A couple of posts that got my attention this morning come from The McGill Daily and  Dad All Day (DAD).

Mr. Heddad of The McGill Daily wrote a persuasive piece on the nature of Movember as microaggression. Heddad writes:

The pure and charitable sentiment is there – raising money for prostate and testicular cancer research, and fighting mental health problems among men – but what once started out as a harmless campaign has become sexist, racist, transphobic, and misinformed.

DAD responded by explaining why “everybody needs to chill the fu*k out!”

I think there’s a happy medium to be found. Here was my response in an online bloggers’ group… Continue reading


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Stop hate. Love yourself.

You know what makes me sad? I mean really, deeply sad?

Self-Hatred

Maybe you grew up with a low sense of self-worth.

Maybe affection was withheld except on those occasions when you wore a handsome shirt or a pretty dress, or when you earned an “A” because “a ‘B’ is good, but you can do better.”

Maybe you were labeled “lazy” or “selfish.”

Maybe you started to believe and even repeat those messages to yourself.

Maybe you developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to replace the need for affection or acceptance.

Maybe you started to wish you were different, or someone else entirely, or non-existent.

Maybe you began to hurt yourself, physically or emotionally.

Maybe you learned berate yourself for not being “enough.”

And maybe–just maybe–you are

Maybe there’s a light in you that feels small.

Maybe that light has big dreams.

Maybe that light knows everything about love and nothing about fear.

Maybe that light wants, needs, to expand…
to be free…
to love freely.

Maybe that light isn’t in you.

Maybe that light is you.

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Getting Vulnerable

I think I’m going to take a break from the “promises” series. I enjoy writing them, and they’re great for transparency and personal accountability, but they’re being read by about, oh, three people. As much as I’d like to keep writing them, it’s apparent most people aren’t interested. It’s tough putting so much effort into something only to realize nobody really cares. But this isn’t about getting pity or sympathy; it’s about vulnerability.

A funny thing happens when you make a bunch of one-sided promises to people or spell out some of your most personal thoughts and ideas in a public forum: you feel vulnerable. Vulnerability is a good thing, really, but it can be extremely uncomfortable.

Belly-RubVulnerability opens you up to new experiences. The problem with being open is it can feel scary. Dangerous, even. That fear of danger or risk the ego’s way of protecting itself from harm. Think of it like this: A dog who loves and feels safe with its owner will roll over and expose its underside for some delicious belly rubs. The second there’s any kind of unfamiliar distraction, it’s on its feet again. Say a bee comes along and stings the dog on the belly while it’s turned over. Bam! Off and running. No more soft belly, no more exposure to risk, and you can bet that dog will think twice the next time it exposes its tummy for lovin’.

So if you’re making a public promise to be more and do better or if you have grand plans that seem to fall flat, be prepared to get stung from time to time. It’s nobody’s fault, really. It’s just the nature of exposing your belly.

Chris

P.S. Join me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!


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I Believe…

Staying true to our beliefs is sometimes difficult, but it helps to state them clearly. Write them down, read them, feel them. Here are a few of mine:

I believe in equal access to education.

I believe in equal human rights, including freedom to love who we love without persecution, with equal access to the legal benefits of marriage.

I believe in unconditional human regard, including the individual’s right to be treated with the same dignity and respect as every other individual.

I believe in blurring and blending gender roles and notions of gender identity.

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Stop waiting.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about waiting; waiting until I’ve had more experience, waiting until I’ve received more education, waiting until I’ve “made it.” Waiting is the enemy of presence. When we wait, we check out from the present and place responsibility in the hands of our future selves, who are powerless to act right now. This isn’t Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

I want to reiterate because I somehow lose track of this concept: Any future instance of myself is powerless to act in the here and now because he does not yet exist. Likewise, holding onto the past is useless to me now because that instance of myself no longer exists. All of my past thoughts and actions have brought me to here and now, sure, but it’s done. What I’m left with is this moment.

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This Too Shall Pass: on the art of allowing

Looking back on events, I can almost always find purpose in what I once thought was tragedy. That’s not to say that “everything happens for a reason.” I believe we have more responsibility in, and consequently, more control over life than that. Rather, it’s a feeling that the world meets us where we are. Opportunities and lessons present themselves when we need them to, and sometimes it seems tragic and overwhelming, but it’s exactly the contrast we needed to break a pattern. It may sound like rationalization to some, but I try to think of it as allowing change.

With experience, this hindsight comes earlier and earlier, to the point where it’s no longer hindsight at all, but a way of accepting what is. So it’s no surprise that I’m finding a sense of calm and resolve at the news that, on Monday this week, my parents’ house was struck by lightning, caught on fire, and burned. (The photos in the slideshow are of their house.) See, my folks (who live in southern Indiana) were visiting family here in Michigan for Memorial Day weekend, and they had brought their dogs with them. My mom seems to have a mystery nerve disorder and is in a motorized wheelchair, and had she been home, I don’t know if she would have made it. As it happened, no one was home. Everyone is safe. I’m truly thankful for that.

Photo Source: WDRB News

When I spoke to my mom, I was shocked, but calm. She didn’t need me blubbering on about “Oh my God, what a tragedy, what are you going to do?!” I told her I love her, hung up, and called Karin. That’s when the blubbering came. Continue reading