Mar 3, 2014

Under The Bridge

Isolation is one of the characteristics of people who are doing too much. Maggie Kuhn once said, "One of the reasons our society has become such a mess is that we are isolated from each other." I realized that I may be surrounded by people all day long and that I know to be a fact since I am never alone... with my entourage of my yaya, bodyguard and private nurse always with me, wherever I go, but this sometimes does not even come as a hindrance as my single-minded dedication to work and my incessant rushing isolates me. The truth is, when I get into my groove of dealing with the frenzy of daily life, I absolutely do not like to be interrupted by anyone... loved ones, I confess, sometimes included. I would rather get my work done, the OCD person that I am. And being an ISTJ (my personality archetype) makes me frustrated when things do not fall into place, which makes others afraid to approach me. Like most of the rest of the world, I am sure you can relate. We have become just as locked up and closeted with our working, our busyness, our hurrying around as antisocial people were in their isolated houses. The tendency is, we have forgotten how to reach out, and we don't have the time for it, even if we remember how. We think that if we had more time to focus on our work that we would feel better, and naturally, the opposite happens since instead we feel exhausted. Isolation is an energy drain and I realize now that I need to learn the difference between isolation and solitude as I have seemed to have blurred the lines separating the two.

And this is where a time to be away from it all is necessary. No work, no frenzy, no rushing about. That was the exact thing I needed and got in my 4-day vacation away from the city as I went to Clark, Pampanga to attend the two-day 7107 International Music Festival with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as the main act. It is funny how this particular song appealed to me, as I was listening to them play it out live... there I was with perhaps 60,000 other people (a far cry from being alone and isolated as I usually put myself in on a daily basis) but somehow, feeling a sense of solitude. Funny how things work out that way. It is indeed possible to feel the solitude we always years for in a crowded area. Solitude, apparently, is a state of mind rather than a physical state of being and can be attained by clearing our thoughts, blocking off the to-do lists that make us anxious and just being there- present in the moment. As we begin to get more in touch with ourselves and accept ourselves for who we are minus all the buzz of daily life which we have fooled ourselves to believe as those that define us, we begin to entertain the thought that we might, indeed be "an incandescent power." As I spent more time away from it all (even if yes, perhaps 90% of the people from this city I know were there in the exact same venue), I began to feel my power and know it not as a power over others (which as a control freak I am used to experiencing), but as a personal power glowing and radiating from within. 

It's hard to believe
That there's nobody out there
It's hard to believe
That I'm all alone
At least I have her love
The city she loves me
Lonely as I am
Together we cry
- Under The Bridge, Red Hot Chili Peppers

I guess this new found solitude can also explain this sudden change in fashion choice as I felt myself wanting to rid myself off the fluff and frou frou and bling and dress in a more easy-going free spirit kind of way. Trust me, if I dressed this way in Manila, people will start to question my life choices and how I spend my time... unfortunately, looking a specific part still plays a major part in how people perceive the way we are living our lives and the more structured and made up we are, means the more structured and made up our inner selves are. Of course this is not always true as I have never felt so at ease and affirmed in myself as I did in this outfit which was basically a loose old tank top that I've worn for over a dozen times already. Unfortunately, I cannot always wear this outfit and dress up this way since it would be deemed informal and too laid back to be acceptable in the industries I work in but if anything, it proves that I can still feel absolutely myself without my designer handbags and in glad rags instead. 

Beige Safari Cropped Vest: Mango | Oversized Leaf-print Tanktop (that can be worn as a dress): Zara | Leather Shorts: Glitterati | Brown Studded Sling Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Beige Studded Lace-Up Combat Boots: Romwe | Stacked on Beaded Hamsa Bracelets: Therapy |Multi-Toned Woven Fedora Hat: A'postrophe | Zebra Print Cuff and Feather Earrings: Cultus Chi Chi | Mirrorized Sunglasses: Mango | Navy Blue Triangle Bikini (worn under): Anemone

Because I have learned to go through life cut off  from my internal power source, the more I felt alone and lost (much like how the song, Under the Bridge, depicts it). When we think about what is missing from our lives, we may come to the conclusion that we are! Oh, of course, I have learned to adapt and function well. I do things that need to get done. I am even efficient and imaginative at times, and yet so often, I feel like a zombie carrying out an old routine in well-worn clothing. The tendency is for us to lose touch with ourselves and there is nothing lonelier than not being in touch with oneself. When we have lost ourselves, no amount of externals will help. Loved-ones, relationships, friends, work- none can supply what is missing when we are cut off from our "internal power source." We are missing, and the only remedy is to find ourselves again. Finding ourselves takes time and sacrifice. It is hard work and it is worth doing. It's funny how all this time, I was looking all over for what was missing in my life... only to discover that I was.

As I began to clear out the garbage of the craziness of leading such a busy life, I uncover my true self, lying dormant, not dead, within myself. I now have a sense of what it means to be in tune with the infinite, and life feels more easy and flowing and whole lot less structured and linear. This feeling of oneness is not an illusion; it is real. Only as we learn to affirm who we are do we move beyond ourselves and as we affirm and accept who we are, we become even more of who we really are. Inevitably, as we tune out the noise of the external world and just be, we find that what we were looking for was inside us, dormant, all this time.

xx, JL


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