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May, 2016
Archive

  • Is There Magic in Your Life?

    I remember times in my life where everything felt like magic. I would see signs all over the place and convince myself there was so much meaning to them – no matter how far fetched the connections “Oh look! That bird eating a Dorito means I should totally go on a trip with that dude I just met!” Coincidences would happen and I was convinced the cosmos was speaking directly to me, suggesting that my life’s quest was on the right track. I would howl to the wolf mother knowing that the universe’s intentions for me were not only deliberate, but that Gaia herself was orchestrating my existence.

    Now however… not so much.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve become older and jaded. Too many stories have happened where I believed that I was being directed towards a certain path, and I wasn’t. Everything would fall through in the last minute, and I would be left with my limp soul in my hand. I had believed so much that there was a guiding force guiding me towards something, but the outcome was never what I had expected it to be.

    I began to feel the universe was kind of cunty.

    Yet part of being in the magic of life, is being open to it.

    I don’t want to become cynical from disappointments. I’m trying to observe the world around me and fantasize how maybe reality is a construct. Perhaps I’m not only the narrator of my life, but also the architect? Maybe part of the problem is looking outside of myself for the magic, and forgetting that I am the magician.

    Quantum physics suggests that we project reality onto the world, and that the power of the observer dictates the outcome of how molecules behave. So many New Age guru types have become convinced that we can manifest our destiny through our thought patterns. I want to believe that, but I struggle because there is so much that I’ve tried really hard to “manifest through my breath” or whatever, but it just didn’t happen. Much like you don’t want to use deodorant made only of good intentions, it’s also hard to base your life philosophy of them.

    I have to believe that it’s possible, but if I am trying to convince myself to believe then isn’t already impossible?

    My plan is to really try and be aware of the world around me, and allow possibilities! But then I realized something so goddam depressing.

    IT IS REALLY HARD TO NOTICE THE MAGIC AROUND YOU WHEN WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKIG DOWN AT OUR PHONES!!!

    So often we stare at our phones to avoid boredom. Why wait in line at the grocery store and make eye contact with sexy strangers when you can just look at your Facebook feed?! If you feel uncomfortable in a social situation, or your friend leaves to go to the bathroom, instead of looking around and being open, we close ourselves off and look at our phones.

    Every time you look down at your phone you are not looking up to see the magic. You are not going to ever find signs on your screen. If we want to feel like we are living in a magical world we actually have to live in it.

    GET OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE TONI!

    toni on phone

    May 26, 2016 • Musings • Views: 1134

  • In Your Mother’s Arms

    The first home you ever had was inside your mother. Of course, she eventually evicted you, but her uterus was your apartment – complete with psychedelic posters and tapestries.

    After you were birthed into to this cold dark world, her arms then became your home (assuming your mom stayed in your life). It was there that you felt safest. As a child we run into our mother’s arms for comfort, we collapse inside her hug for security. To experience this kind of embrace with your child is profound. It makes up for all the complexity of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and the unique pressure women face of living up to the role as “MOTHER.” That moment when your kid melts into for solace is truly priceless.

    Yet eventually your child gets to know you more, and realizes how you damaged them in one way or another. Then the arms of the mother are no longer their salvation. There is this thing between you – the mistakes, arguments, resentment, and annoyance that your Mom is always yelling at you about using the last of the toilet paper. The purity you once felt for your mom eventually gets clouded. She is not the goddess you once perceived her to be that was the answer to all your problems, but a flawed person who is doing her best… most of the time.

    As a child you want your mom to be a function of you. You assume that she was born onto this planet solely to be there for you. But as an adult understanding motherhood I have to admit that even though The Munch is a priority – she’s not my ONLY priority. Sometimes other things are more important than her. Like wanting to dance, or be with my friends, or work, or be creative, or eating the last cookie I know she was saving.

    The relationship we have to the MOTHER is as much personal as much as it is societal. There is an image of THE MOTHER that we are all conditioned to expect from media/stories. We have a tendency to compare our mothers to the narratives we are given. When I was a kid, all I wanted was a suburban stay at home mom. They kind who knitted, did crafts, and baked cupcakes. Instead, the mother I got was ambitious, anti-conventional, and would threaten to pick me up at school wearing her Magnum Condom T-shirt.

    Even though my mom wasn’t my ideal, as a grown up I very much like her as a human. She is way more fun than the Joan Cleaver of my childhood fantasies.

    Last night my mom came to New Hampshire because her mom has been really sick. There was a scare, and we all thought that this could be the end… but as soon as my grandmother heard everyone was coming, she perked right up and went downstairs to have a roast beef sandwich. My mom and I got into bed with my grandmother that night to keep her company as she slept.

    So there we were, 3 generations of mothers all entangled in each other’s arms as my mom and whispered to each other about mothering while my grandmother snored.

    My Mom: I know I wasn’t the mother that you wanted, but I was exactly the mother that I wanted!

    Toni: Well even though there were these ways you parented that felt traumatizing in the moment, I also think those very same things I wished were different made me a stronger person. I felt abandoned as a kid because you gave me so much independence, but now I’m a really emotionally independent person – and I like that about myself. Even though I may have wished that I were coddled more, I am glad I wasn’t.

    We all tend to parent in reaction to our parenting. We become the parents we wish we had rather than the parent our kid necessarily wants.

    There are a lot of similarities in the way I parent Munch and the way I was parented by my mom, and there is a lot I do that’s in direct reaction against the way I was parented. I have to constantly remind myself that Munch is not my inner child wanting to be healed, but her own person. I have to constantly observe and adjust my approach to her, and not get lost in trying to re-imagine my past.

    I will never the exact parent Munch wants me to be, but I can at least be open to her feedback. I want to build the kind of trust where she always feels at home in my arms, and comforted by my embrace. That way I can be sure that when I am super old she will jump into my bed with her daughter and talk about me behind my back while I sleep.

    toni munch painting

    May 19, 2016 • Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting, Relationships • Views: 1298

  • The Only Advice You Will EVER Need

    Let me give you some advice. Don’t take people’s advice.

    And don’t give advice.

    My problem is that I can’t even take my own advice about not giving people advice. I’m an advice giver! I can’t help it! When someone talks to me about a problem they have, I want to save them from whatever’s tormenting them. I want to solve their crisis because the solution seems so obvious from my outsider’s perspective. Isn’t everyone else’s life so simple compared to our own? We are too clouded with subjectivity and confused emotions to see clearly most of the time – which is why we may think we want advice – but in truth we really only want to hear what we want to hear.

    Most of the time people have no interest in taking your advice, they just want to know you care about them enough to give it. There sometimes may be the illusion that they are following your advice, but that’s usually because your advice happened to coincide with what they were going to do anyway. It’s more likely a coincidence that you thought they should do what they were already thinking of doing.

    I know all this, yet my compulsion to tell you what to do is stronger than my rationality of knowing you don’t want to know what I think. I get this from my mom, as she is the exact same way as me. Ironically every time I’m telling her about something that upsets me and she tries to give me advice… it SUPER annoys me!! Of course she’s just doing what I’m doing to everyone else, but really all I want her to do is listen to me. Yet when she is telling me her problems, all I want to do is give her advice!

    Recently I’ve started a personal habit of asking someone “do you want my advice?” when they are telling me something. At least that way they are welcome to say “not really,” and for us both to save the energy. Because when you give someone advice, isn’t it kind of insulting when they don’t do what you suggest? It’s like “why was I thinking so hard when you were going to just do what you were going to do anyway!? DO WHAT I SAY!!!!”

    I’ve also tried to notice how I feel when someone gives me advice that I don’t want to do. Do I not want to do what they are saying because they are wrong? Or because they are suggesting the RIGHT thing to do, but it’s also the harder choice, so I don’t want to do it. My practice is to force myself to follow the advice I don’t want to, because maybe they are seeing something I can’t? Maybe the advice I give my self is exactly what I shouldn’t be doing, even though the advice I give other people is exactly what they should be doing!?

    Even though advice is mostly useless, our culture is obsessed with giving it out. The problem is that there isn’t a lot of consciousness around what we do with it once we receive it. There is a whole industry around self-help: parenting advice, health advice, relationship advice, even some forms of therapy are basically just getting some therapist’s advice on how we should live our lives. In a way, it’s kind of a total waste. Most of us only truly change because of the results of our actions, not because of someone suggestions.

    Yet as I am saying all this, I am rendering myself totally insignificant! If people don’t need my advice then I will have no meaning in this world! Who would read my blog!? Who would care about me!? WAIT! Stop taking my advice about not taking my advice because I know you’re not going to anyway. Instead let me give you some advice about all the things you’d need advice about so you never have to take advice again! Unless it’s mine of course!

    Parenting advice: No matter what you do, you are going to fuck up your kid somehow. It can’t be avoided, so do what feels most right to you in the most conscious way possible, but get ready to cause some primal wounds and traumas. The only thing you can really do is preparing yourself to confront it at one point. Your kid will grow up and realize how their conditioning damaged them and if you can acknowledge their pain that you unintentionally caused, they may change your diapers when you need them to later.

    Relationship Advice: You are either going to be the object of worship, or the one doing the worshipping. Which one do you prefer? If you are being worshiped you will feel more secure but less lusty for your partner. If you are doing the worshipping you are going to feel more lusty but less secure. Pick your poison.

    Health Advice: Eat whole foods that don’t have chemicals. Cook everything you can for yourself. Move your body. Mediate. Get enough sleep. Be experimental. Investigate the emotional messages of your pains. Believe you can heal.

    Sex Advice: Don’t fake orgasms. Be honest about your desires. If you don’t like something, don’t pretend to.

    What you will learn in therapy: Your parents fucked you up and they are the root of all your problems. But they are just people who had fucked up parents who fucked them up – so be forgiving.

    advice-blog-2

    May 12, 2016 • Musings, Parenting, Relationships, Sex Stuff • Views: 1277

  • My Life is Turning Out EXACTLY as Planned! How About YOU?

    I’ve always envied the type of person who knows exactly what they want out of life, and takes every logical step to achieve their goals. Say someone who wants to be a doctor. They’d study science in high school, make a conscious choice to go to a college that is acclaimed for pre med, and then spend 7+ years at medical school / a residency. After all that focused effort would then earn them a position as a doctor, and they’d maintain that career with satisfaction for the next 40+ years. You never see a doctor switching their attention mid way, and saying “I’m sick of proctology, I’m gonna do heart surgery now instead.” NO! Once a doctor commits to finger-blasting assholes for their life, that’s what they do – and they don’t question it.

    But if I’d wanted to be a doctor, this would’ve been the path I’d have taken. Study drawing in high school, go to a college that specializes in poetry, drop out of said college then attend another college that’s famous for it’s French literature program – but graduate with a degree in Confucius. I would then move to an ashram in India to write my dissertation on crowd psychology, but instead make a movie about what dirt tastes like. That would be where I would meet a contortionist who I fall madly in love with, but leave him to become a trapeze artist. After this great heartbreak of my own induction I’d get my pilot’s license, but end up driving a school bus – all the while insisting that I probably could do your brain surgery because I have been training to be a doctor after all.

    I feel like I’m one of those people that life just happens to. An opportunity arises, and I see where it takes me. If I look back at the last 20 years of my life, there have been many incarnations of the different people I have been. The model, the failed model, the sports fanatic, the philosopher, the magazine owner, the bartender, the political activist, the event planner, the businesswoman, the restaurateur, the professional skate boarder, the reality TV producer… non of which obviously took off for me.

    Why can’t I be like, “I wanna be lawyer!” and then become a lawyer? That plan is so reasonable, yet so beyond me. Or like those gymnasts in Romania who know when they are sperm that they’re going to the Olympics. When I was a kid I wanted to be a psychiatrist and I didn’t even become that. I don’t know what that says about me, but maybe it says I needed a psychiatrist!

    The best things in my life are things that I didn’t plan at all. I never wanted to be a parent, and was even told by the doctors that I could never have children because of the pituitary tumor in my brain – looks like those “doctors” should have studied Voltaire and had more affairs with circus folk am I right?! WHAT DO THEY KNOW!

    In truth I feel super corny saying Munch is the best thing in my life because I don’t mean it like you think I do. It’s not like the love I feel for her is unparalleled to anything else or she has given my life a meaning it never previously had. Of course you love your kid and they are meaningful, but I’m not hanging my relationship to my identity on her back – because she’s still pretty weak. Like she can’t even give me a shoulder ride. It’s more that every once in a while I witness her innate kindness, which is by far the most inspiring aspect of my life because her authenticity gives me hope for civilization.

    For instance the other day we were leaving my friend’s house, and I was carrying a bunch of stuff while trying to slip my socked foot into my Birkenstock. Munch observed my effort, and instead of saying “Mom, this fashion statement of socks and sandals is such a clothing crime that you might as well tattoo “I give up” on your forehead,” she instead bent down, and helped me with my shoe. I didn’t ask her to do that, but she instinctively wanted to help my struggle – not aesthetically but practically.

    I have these moments with The Munch where I am so emotionally moved by her sense of humanity. This isn’t something she was necessarily taught, but rather a natural disposition that drives her. When I am faced with these instances, I’m over come with the belief that maybe we are all going to be okay. That perhaps mankind does have a chance to evolve into beings of higher consciousness? But then I see Ted Cruz try to hold his wife’s hand, and the nihilism takes over yet again.

    The other part of my life that gives me immense joy is my dance studio. Now again, I never planned for that, it just fell into my lap and I happened to plié into it. DANCE JOKE! Amazing work their Toni. It’s not like I’m the best dancer on planet earth. Far from it! But choreographing and creating feeds my spirit body in the most profound way and I am eternally grateful for the community we have created. Without my studio there would be no reason for me to change from pajama sweatpants into my daytime dancing sweatpants – it’s my reason for getting up in the morning.

    Then there is my career – my writing / movie making ambitions. This actually is something I’m trying to plan out, but let me tell you, it’s an eternal effort with zero potential for satisfaction. Even if something good does happen, it’s only good for that brief moment until it’s not good enough anymore and I have a new goal. No matter what success I have, it is clouded by the reality that it’s such small step towards a totally insane goal. My ambitions are outlandish, and the probability is basically impossible. Yet I keep moving towards them because I can’t stop myself. Yet the insanity of this path is looming over me, and the only way to deal is by fatalistically not caring while at the same time passionately wanting.

    It’s not that my life is bad, but it also doesn’t feel within my control. Everything I desperately want I never really get, and things that I didn’t know I wanted – I do? All I know is that when I watch NOVA and see archeologists digging in dirt for 70 hours a week looking for traces of the Vikings in North America, they seem more content. Like they understood from an early age where they were heading, and went there. Or quantum physicists who talk about string theory. They just seem like there life went exactly as planned!

    Maybe I would have been better off if I’d lived my childhood dream of becoming a psychiatrist!

    What about you? Is your life turning out like you’d planned!?

    toni head back

    May 5, 2016 • Musings • Views: 1485