>> Monday, April 18, 2011

Whilst stumbling the internet I came across some quotes and pictures that I fell in love with. At first I was unsure where to post them or whatever, but I have realized that I don't need to make yet ANOTHER website for these things I find, that's what my blog is for! So I have a feeling that not only will be blogging about my life, but I'll also be posting stuff, like this here too! This quote in particular is pretty much what my whole theory is. Gratitude for what we have.


Spring Cleaning, Spring Cleansing

>> Sunday, April 10, 2011

As the quote goes, "Today is today, the sun is shining, the tank is clean...(GASP) THE TANK IS CLEAN!" You heard right, the sun is in fact shining and suddenly the weather has started to resemble that of Spring. With this past weekend sitting at around 62 as an average, it was prime time to get out and see the city. Not to mention, the "tank is clean" too! As you probably have noticed I've changed the name and URL of my blog to: A Splash Of Gratitude. All of my old posts are still here, so it's essentially the same thing. So, in changing my blog header and name, I cleaned my room as well. I folded all my laundry, hung up all the hangable articles, and reorganized some things so that the sun could shine in my area a little bit more. When I woke up yesterday morning, I had no clue what was in store. My friend Tia and I decided that we would take the mile and a half walk to the boston commons. The commons are this GIANT green area in the center of the city that consist of paths, ponds, kids, trees, sort of like a more open version of central park. On our hike, we discovered what may have been the cutest thing I have ever seen. 

  • Little boy in little gray sweatshirt just walking along in between his parents: cute points - 1. 
  • The parents are these totally trendy sort of artsy people, down to earth looking: cute points -2
  • We overhear a game of "I Spy": cute points - 3
  • The little boy says "I spy something pretty." Mommy says, "Is it Daddy?" "Noooo" he replies, "Is it Cooper" (which we assumed was his name) "Nooooo" he says again. Then Daddy says, "It is mommy?" and the little boy says, "YES!!!": cute points: 2 trillion
That innocence is so infectious and can literally change the course of your day. There are times when I miss having that sort of playful loving mind, and I wish I could go back there, but I realize that I had that, and sometimes we all still do. It just means we have to cherish those innocent moments we have more. The other day I was telling another friend of mine that I missed Orientation week so much. We all loved each other, it was all ahead of us, and we had no clue what was coming. I guess looking back I think I appreciate it more than I miss it. Now we've all already grown and learned so much that I would never REALLY want to go back to that. But, I can look back and say, that was amazing and I loved every second. That's a splash of gratitude if you ask me. I will say, I didn't want to turn back once we had reached to commons. I had never really been there, I had seen it a bunch of times, but never sat down or walked around and explored, and boy was I missing out. With the sun and the music from the people playing in the park, the birds (except the pigeons), the sky, the air, the trees, the water, the grass, EVERYTHING was beautiful and we just sat and soaked it all in. After sitting, then walking for a bit, we decided to take a trip down a street neither of us had been before, Commonwealth Ave. It's lined with trees down the center, and the brownstones on either side or more than magnificent. We eventually turned towards the river and went to a favorite spot of ours known as "The Docks". It's not REALLY a dock, its more like a wood platform built out from the land that we all lay on and sit and just relax and take in the sun. And that's exactly what we did. Tia and I actually fell asleep for about 40 minutes listening to Jason Mraz in the sun. We awoke with the realization that the breeze was picking up, we proceeded back to the dorms and rested until the evening was upon us. 
We headed over, with Gavin, another close friend, to a favorite dining spot: Cafeteria. Not THE cafeteria, that's the name of the restaurant. Dinner was lovely, and we laughed our butts off, and then Tia went on her way to Harvard with some girls to meet straight boys, and Gavin and I, along with another friend, Amos, went to this place that Gavin had been DYING to take me to. He calls it "The Spot" and that's pretty much what it is. We got off the train at a random stop that he knew, and as we traveled up the escalator back to ground level, we saw a skyline emerging. It was the boston skyline, clear as a crystal. The sky was empty you could see every window in Boston. I sat back and realized where I was, where I had been all day. I was in space. I as close to the stars as I could get. I was living and breathing, and I was so beyond grateful. Nothing else mattered at that moment. 
None of the petty drama, the exhaustion from the school year, the homesickness, the judgements, the people, none of it mattered. I was standing in the middle of space. Gavin made a good point in saying that it was nothing even compared to the Chicago skyline, but I told him that it was more about stepping outside and looking in. The three of us realized that we had been living in that cluster of lights and buildings, and we had never really gotten the chance to see it from the outside. And that was it, I knew that I was in "No Man's Land." I had finally reached it. If you read my last blog, I wrote about it, so go catch up. But I have to say that at the moment I took a deep breath in a felt so free. There was so much I didn't know, and so much I was going to know, and even more that I wasn't going to know and it was all ok. We were just standing and looking, sort of at ourselves. I knew then that I needed to change the title of my blog, and start explaining that even though there are so many things that suck, and it's unrealistic to forget about them all, there is always SOMETHING to be grateful for. Big or small. When we got home, we just relaxed for a few hours and then headed to bed. 
Today was a different story. This morning I awoke to the sound of my alarm that read; SGA Aquarium. I replied loudly "OH S*$&" Today I was taking a trip the aquarium (for free) with the Student Government Association I was a part of. I hopped up, got in the shower, ran to Starbucks for a muffin and tea, and then met everyone in the student center. By some lucky chance, not everyone showed up so we were able to have lunch for free at the Aquarium. I don't really want to say anything cheesy about the fish, so I'll refrain. But, I will say that it was cool to be there and be able to cross that off my list of things to do in Boston. 
After we had walked around the entire Aquarium and admired the penguins with childlike innocence, we decided we would walk back to school because it was so nice outside. The walk from the Aquarium is about 40 minutes and is 2.25 miles. I should mention that at this point it was four of us, just wanted to make sure you didn't think it was like 15 people, there were only four now. So as we began our trek, Elyse mentioned that she had never been to the north end, we saw I sign with an arrow and decided to go for it, we had no where to be in a rush. We walked a little bit out of the way to Mikes Pastries, a Boston staple. We didn't end up buying anything but Elyse was excited that she got the chance to see it. 
We started walking back towards the school, and we ended up stopping at 2 old graveyards that seemed to have some tourist appeal and realized we were visiting the graves of some of the most important people in American history. Such as, John Hancock, Sam Adams, Paul Revere, and John Winthrop. We knew that we would have never even had the chance to see these, if we hadn't decided to walk. So we kept on our way and passed the commons on our path and noticed music and tents that were in the center court of the commons. We ventured in and realized that it was greek festival, WHICH was fully equipped with parade! Of course we stopped and watched the parade for a bit before continuing on and discovering a game of quiddich that was taking place. This is not a joke. There were 2 teams of college kids playing full fledged quiddich with brooms and all. At the utter shock we stopped and watched a little before continuing back to the school where I proceeded to clean like I explained before. Reflecting on the day, it's crazy to think that all of these major bostonian things were all so close and I had never even taken the time to go out and explore. 

This weekend was a definite cleansing for me, I was able to step outside of my environment and then immerse myself in the deep culture more than ever. There are a lot of things that suck, and are downers, and can turn your day for the worst, and to say that being grateful makes all that go away is crazy. But, I do know that every once in a while I need a reminder of how lucky I am, and really how lucky we all are that we're breathing and living and loving. This weekend was probably one of, if not THE, best weekend i've had in boston yet. Not too bad for 48 hours.

all that with a splash of gratitude,



No Man's Land

>> Monday, April 4, 2011

Before anything else, I need to apologize for my long absence the past few weeks. But, I'm back by popular demand, and I have a lot to say. To be honest, I have been struggling the past few weeks with a few things that have been going on in my life and on my mind lately. I'm not sure where to start. The first thing I'll say is that, above all, I am happy. 
"I wrote a song for the geese"

I am content. I have realized, more than ever, that I'm in the right place. There is this sort of indescribable energy surrounding this school and this city that is irreplaceable. In addition, I have recently become close with a few kids who have become my main support system. These kids understand me, they get me, they are caring, and more than anything they are open; which is what I really wanted to write about. I have been searching for this openness, this feeling of ultimate vulnerability that gives me the chance to just let everything in. Everything good, bad, ugly, gorgeous, inspiring, upsetting, every single thing. This has been the main source of my "stress" because I have been working to really find that place, but it's ultimately some place inside of me. So, what does all of this really mean. It means that lately I've felt closed off, and second I've noticed how closed off people have been. I made it my goal to just open up. In acting class, I was in a scene last week and we played with this idea of standing in "no man's land." Which, in laymen's terms is like standing in an area of the stage or scene where there is nothing around you, physically. But I was more interested in the mental trip to no man's land. I started by thinking about what takes an actor OUT of this scary "no man's land" and realized that it's furniture. It's things, physical touchable things that we are sort of magnetized to. Mentally, I believe, the equivalent is stable things. Things we KNOW that we KNOW. I've talked about it before, but it's that need for stability in our lives. So, my task was to journey away from the stable and see if I could open up, and ultimately, what would happen if I did. I can't say that there has been like specific moments that I've opened up myself or whatever, but I have taken certain things in. This journey sort of began when I, on a whim, decided to take a trip to NYC with some friends for my birthday. Literally, this was a last minute thing. Normally, I would have said "no way jose" because we really didn't have a plan. All I knew was that I was going to see 2 shows, and that we'd have to student rush both (most likely). The bus for NY left at 6 and we were at the bus gate by 550 - sort of a close call. On the four hour bus ride, I decided it would be a good idea to watch a movie on Netflix on my phone. Wrong. My phone battery was at about 20% when we reached the city. So I realized that my day would most likely be phone free, and that's when everything sort of started. 

"New York is NUTS"
The only stable thing I had was my wallet and my head, other than that, I had no phone, no clue where I was, what I was seeing, or what would happen next. This proved to be quite the challenge for me, the control freak. But, I knew that it would be the precise opportunity to take in my surroundings. I realized, more than anything that day, that New York is NUTS. We spent most of our day between 40th and 50th and times square and such, which, if you don't know, is crazy! I was overwhelmed by the amount of people and the hustle and bustle of the city. And though it was insane and I felt as if the world was crashing down at moments, I still had made a realization; that truthfully, I wasn't cut out for this "go by the seat of your pants" thing and that the hustle and bustle, as much as I wanted it to be, wasn't really my thing. Like I said, I knew that the things I was taking in didn't have to be beautiful or amazing, I just had to take in what I was taking in without restructure or judgement. So, when the trip was finally over and I returned to my humble abode this is Boston, I realized how much I love this city. Aside from the snow, and the cold, and the rain, this city is so me. It's quiet and yet has this energy that is indescribable. This past weekend I had the chance to take in the city and the stuff around me for real. The sun was shining and the sky was blue and I sat outside with friends for two days and just played guitar, and made music. In fact, I even wrote a song about Geese. Funny story, but I was sitting at this pond right near our school and some geese swam right up to the edge where I was playing. When I stopped, they swam away, and so I started playing again, and as crazy as it sounds that sat and listened. So, I wrote a song for them, and who knows if I'll ever share it with the world, but it was fun while it lasted. So aside from the funny and prettiness of this city, I noticed some other things that sort of threw me off. First of all, I get very overwhelmed by people...quite easily. I don't like small talk or dilly dallying. I guess I consider myself to be straight forward and to the point. So, when we were in a heated discussion in my liberal arts class last week, I wasn't afraid to state my opinion, which was different from some of the people in the class. The subject matter is sort of unimportant, but the point is that I was looking at things from a much more personal and "glass half full" perspective. I guess I sort of think it's a waste of time to be negative about the things around you, especially the things you can control. You have to be grateful for what you have, and what you don't have, and just live every second as best you can. I know this is a lot easier said than done, but I truly believe that it takes more effort to sit and judge the things around you, whether saying that someone is rude and being mean, or saying something sucks and you hate it, I just sort of think it's easier and more beneficial to just say, that sucked....now what's next. Life truly is a roller coaster and there's no point in focusing on the downs because eventually it's bound to go back up, so look forward to that. Now I'm not saying make lemonade out of lemons, I'm saying just look at the lemons and realize what they are, and look forward to the lemonade you'll get later. You can't control most things around you, but you can control how you perceive them. Just see it and know it's there, you don't have to love it or hate it. This probably sounds repetitive, or that I'm just crazy, but I truly believe that there are so many things people miss because they are so closed off from the things and life around them. 

"Be greatful for what you have"
And so, I will continue on my journey to openness and will continue to see everything as it is. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but so is ugliness. I'm doing my best to stay in this "no man's land" and we'll see where it takes me. I sort of think this "no man's land" is true freedom. It's being free from the things that restrict you and hold you back. So, I guess you could say I am free. I've learned more from being in this place of freedom than I have almost any other place in my life. So as I continue to love, laugh, cry, stress, sigh, live, be, hear and see the world around me, I hope you can do the same. Thanks for everything you have taught me, and will teach me. I look forward to our future, whatever it may be.



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