• Speaking My Mind

    If I Wasn’t Afraid, I Would…

    • Move out of state
    • Take a trip
    • Choose a grad school program
    • Apply to a grad school  program
    • Light a match
    • Drive on the highway
    • Chant more
    • Be confident
    • Be positive
    • Introduce more “yogic” things to my yoga class
    • Write a book
    • Develop my own business
    • Make malas
    • Reconnect with mentors
    • Pursue my passions, even if I’m uncertain where they will lead

    What does your list look like?

    xx Vic

  • Yoga

    Living with Uncertainty

    Despite how heavy my foot was on the gas, it felt like we were driving in slow-motion. I was weaving around the cars in my way and tailgating them as my dad clutched his side and dry heaved into a plastic bag. I had never driven so recklessly and aggressively.

    I pulled to the front of the emergency room and he pulled himself out, hobbling toward the door. I quickly parked in the deck and with shaky hands, I put on my sweatshirt and sprinted to the ER after him. He was already inside, sitting in a wheelchair and checking himself in when I arrived. He had stopped shouting in pain and was relatively calm as he sat there.

    They told him a room would be available in a few minutes as they wheeled him to the side to wait. Suddenly, his calm expression broke into one of agony and his mouth opened wide to verbally release the torture his body was causing him. I rubbed his back and reminded him to breathe deeply, hoping it would pacify him. It did not. He continued to cry and shout in the waiting room while people checked in. Then he started vomiting into a plastic bag. I got him tissues to wipe his face and I asked the administrator when the room would be ready. I was impatient at this point.

    Fifteen minutes later, a nurse slowly meandered over and wheeled him to the room he would spend the next six hours in. Ironically, it was the same room he had spent nine hours in, the same time last year. That time was for a different emergency though.

    After several hours, multiple doses of pain medication, and many tests, the doctor diagnosed him with kidney stones. He was able to pass it in the hospital and be released the same day.

    Life is obviously uncertain, but it didn’t use to scare me as much as it does now. My cousin’s death has completely transformed the way I perceive the world and it has caused me to raise questions that I otherwise wouldn’t have asked or even considered. While I feel like I have more compassion and gratitude for life, I have also come to recognize as life as being very fragile. This has caused me to develop fears that I did not use to have. Some of the fears are silly while others make more sense but… I haven’t seemed to overcome them all yet.

    The terrifying experience I had with my dad on Monday as well as the volcanic tragedy in Guatemala, among many other tragedies that people experience, has caused me to reexamine the reality that life is fragile.

    I had shared this realization with the grief group I used to attend about two years ago now. Many of my peers had solemnly nodded their heads in agreement as I shared my concerns and worries about this fact. The therapist, however, raised the question: how do you deal with uncertainty?

    One method for coping that my peers came up with included acknowledging the challenges we had faced previously and that anything that comes next can be overcome too. Another idea was to focus on the present rather than worrying about what might never occur.

    Since I’ve been learning more about yoga philosophy for my yoga training, I’ve learned another effective method for challenging my fears is to be in a state of mind that is described in the Yoga Sutras, which is upeksha, or “indifference.” I learned about this idea in an article from The Yoga Journal written by Frank Jude Boccio titled, “Calm within.”

    Boccio deems it is more apt to regard upeksha as “equanimity” rather than “indifference.” He defines equanimity as “a state of even-minded openness that allows for a balanced, clear response to all situations, rather than a response born of reactivity or emotion.” He adds that it is a balanced state of mind and heart. It allows one to experience pleasure and pain without clinging to it or condemning it. In other words, equanimity is about experiencing life and different situations without judging it as good or bad and therefore, maintaining an emotional detachment from it.

    For example, my dad had kidney stones and needed to be hospitalized. It’s not good or bad, it just happened. He was able to get the care he needed to alleviate his pain through hospitalization, and he was working from home that day which enabled me to drive him there. So..while it may seem unfortunate that he had to be hospitalized for this condition, it was actually perfect timing and everything panned out well. In the moment, however, it was scary and awful but it needed to happen this way. If he was at work, he would’ve been taken to a hospital that was further away and it would, therefore, take the rest of my family longer to get to him.

    Equanimity is also about realizing that while you can’t be responsible for nor can you control what happens in life, you can control your reactions. I controlled my reaction by driving him to the hospital, and I let the doctors take control of the situation.

    The last aspect of equanimity as Boccio describes it is that you have to open your heart while simultaneously letting go of expectations and attachment to results. This aligns with what I’ve been reading in the Bhagavad Gita, which is Hindu scripture traditionally written in Sanskrit. It is part of several books of epic poetry.

    The god, Krishna, tells a warrior, Arjuna, that it is important to act for the action’s sake, and not for the results, whether that be success or failure. This equanimity is yoga. (The physical aspect of yoga that is the most popularized is only one limb of yoga philosophy. Yoga is actually a more comprehensive philosophy with eight limbs).

    I believe this type of mindset and state of being would be beneficial to me and it is something that I would like to practice in both my asana practice as well as in meditation. This way I can keep a level head when difficult situations emerge and I can also live with less fear than what I live with now.

    How do y’all feel about equanimity? How do you live with uncertainty?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Faith + Bravery: Taking the First Steps on a New Adventure

    My aunt took me and my sister out to lunch, and as per usual, we had a wonderful conversation.

    She had recently returned from a trip to Memphis with her husband, and they went to several Civil Rights museums. I confessed to her that the things I must do in order to get to the next chapter of my life seem impossible, so she told me this quote she saw in the museum that blew her away:

    “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

    ― Martin Luther King Jr.Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices on Resistance, Reform, and Renewal an African American Anthology

    When she shared it with me, I was also floored. This quote is obviously in regards to civil rights, however, it also encapsulates exactly what I need to do that would answer my own questions:

    How do I get a car so I can be independent? How do I get a job but also prepare for the GRE’s and figure out what doctorate program I want to do? How do I make new friends since all of my closest friends are moving away? How do I become a self-sufficient adult even though I’m afraid to do so?

    Between these worries and fears as well as my disastrous room, which seems to reflect my inner turmoil, I have been feeling so overwhelmed that I haven’t done much to move forward at all. Naturally, I’m not going to get to the next chapter if I’m not taking any steps at all…thus, I should trust the Universe more. I should also trust myself more.

    Evidence of the Universe conspiring to support each individual is evident in my own life in the past, as well as in my girlfriend’s life currently. Per Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life” :

    “You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

    I’ve sited this quote what feels like 10 times now on my blog, yet I always need to be reminded of it. Perhaps I should make it one of my mantras in addition to the Sanskrit mantra, Ananta Swa Bhava, I repeat for my japamala meditation. It means my state of being is infinite and boundless.

    I am infinite and I am a child of the Universe too so…I need to have a little more faith.

    So the first steps I will take until my yoga training starts in a little over two weeks will be to apply for at least one job a day and to finish organizing my room. Instead of watching endless YouTube videos at night, I will read material that will inspire me especially because I have an obscene amount of partially read books on my Kindle. I will also allot one hour each day toward researching doctorate programs that I may be interested in.

    By the time my yoga program rolls around, hopefully, my personal space will be less cluttered and more organized and I will at least have some ideas percolating in my mind in regards to future education plans. Then I can write them down in the new journal my aunt got for me! It’s a beautiful journal and I’ve never had such a nice one before!

    IMG_4438

    I hope you can see the gold detail on it in this photo above!

    IMG_3439 It also has beautiful quotes throughout the book too!

    Anyway…that’s all from me for now. Let me know in the comments if you have any quotes that inspire you!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Save Rock and Roll (Save Myself)

    I’m bored with all of the books I’ve been trying to read and with all of the shows I want to watch so I decided it was about time to come on here and write again.  So…yeah..I’m ending my Fall-Out-Boy-esque-hiatus now.  My hiatus was not five years nor did I release an underrated, killer record before going on break and then proceed to get married, launch a solo career, or have children during my hiatus…but this has been the longest break I’ve taken from writing on here, and in general, since…my sophomore or junior year in high school.  It’s a little unfortunate I didn’t write because I like to document my life, thoughts, and feelings…but everything seemed so…heavy at the time and the idea of writing anything…I didn’t perceive it as therapeutic.

    During the last month or so, however, I have been documenting random thoughts/feelings into a journal by hand to at least get them out there and then I would organize them into the different Bullet Journal prompts I had going.

    Anyway!  I am going to resume writing again.  I’ve been having an urge to write creatively over the last week or so…hopefully I can do some of that because I miss that.  In the meantime, I’ll blog a bit about what’s going on and I’ll start with an update since a bunch has been going on!

  • Speaking My Mind

    Shit In The Shower

    I’ve been home for two days and they’ve both been arguably the shittiest days of 2014. I ended up hysterically sobbing to the point of puking in a parking lot and afterwards I called my boss, who’s like a mom to me, and she made me feel a lot better about everything. I usually would write about all the shit that’s going down at the same time that’s caused me to wish that I wasn’t alive anymore but everything that’s happened in the span of two days is still too sensitive for me to write about. I basically feel alone, rejected, pathetic, and…scared as hell. I’m afraid that I’m losing everything that mattered to me…and there were only a few things that I cared about so…it sucks.

    Anyway…I hope my break can’t get any worse. Yeah, I can’t sleep nor can I eat but as long as nothing else awful happens hopefully I’ll be able to…feel like myself again. Right now I just feel numb.

    Goodnight everyone

    -Vic

  • Poetry,  Speaking My Mind

    Thursday Night

    My lullaby is her soft breathing as she soundly sleeps..I cocoon myself tightly in the bed sheets, wishing she was here taco-ed in my bed with me. I close my eyes and imagine how’d she lay..her body would be sprawled on top of me, with my chest used as a pillow for her soft right cheek…

    Through the line, I hear her breathing stop for a moment..the sound of the line crackling bursts in my ears. I hold my breath for a minute…and then finally her breathing is all I hear.

    I release the breath I’ve been holding, and meditate to her quick, quiet breaths. It’s late, I should also be sleeping…it’s late, I should also be dreaming.

    But it’s hard to sleep when there’s a painful dagger in your chest, the same chest on which the beautiful angel rests. I close my eyes, fighting the urge to cry.

    It’s late, I should really just go to sleep…it’s late, I should just turn off my mind and let my subconscious overtake me.

    My consciousness, however, remains..it replays the nightmarish events from earlier that day. The disappointment, the mistakes..the misunderstandings…and although it all feels scary, my greatest fear is of me pushing her away…the thought of her leaving restarts the pain.

    Instead of counting sheep, I count the breaths she takes while she sleeps…it helps numb the pain from the dagger that is stuck in me.

    It’s late, and eventually my eyes flutter close..it’s late, and eventually my dreams take control..but it’s too late to undo the nightmare I’ve created in my home.

    © 2014 Vic Romero

  • Poetry,  Speaking My Mind

    Leaving

    Goodbye.

    I’m not sure how to verbalize the tangle of feelings that are running through my exhausted mind…lately I’m always over-thinking and my heavy heart has been sinking with dread at the impending end of everything that exists in my life at this time…change is the only constant and so I am constantly worrying about how much time is left before all the good goes away and I’m bereft once again…but I can make new connections and new friends since I’ll be leaving everyone too, since I’ll be heading somewhere new as the people currently in my life leave me behind with their eyes gazing at their future, so bright…I’m looking at my future too..but my eyes water from the feelings I feel, so blue…if it is true what they say about youth, that being young is so much fun, it’s the best part of your life…well I seem to be wasting away, worrying about what to do so I won’t feel too much hurt and so I won’t feel worse than I did before…perhaps I need to just let go, cut loose. And enjoy myself while I’m young.

    © 2014 Vic Romero

  • Poetry

    Limits

    Afraid
    To speak up
    To branch out
    To have confidence
    I am always full of doubt
    Afraid
    To come out
    Of the closet
    To come clean
    To be honest
    Afraid
    I am afraid
    I fear
    Many things
    Except fear itself
    Fear
    I hold it close
    Fear has become my own
    In order to protect me
    Prevent me
    From ever discovering
    The unknown

    ©VicRomero

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