Archives for the month of: April, 2011

They say that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Most of the time, we don’t realize all this until the experience has long passed.  It is upon looking back that we realize the relevance of the experience. I am grateful that for this particular encounter, I was fully present in the moment to witness and experience it. It’s not life altering or anything, but it was specifically and personally meaningful, which I guess, in the end, is what really matters.

It would most likely be evident from the blog posts that cynicism has crept into my system and as much as I might internally and secretly hope for encounters with kindred spirits, I am not counting on it to happen often–if at all. It is rare that I meet a kindred spirit on the path who really speaks to me–or so it seems.

The initial title of the blog post is “A Soulmate Encounter” and when I stepped back and thought about it, I would have to be honest that upon further examination of the experience and subsequent encounters with this particular kindred spirit, I am unsure whether he can be definitely classified as a soulmate… which still does not really detract from what might have been a one-off encounter with him.

So here’s what I hope would be a short and interesting, albeit admittedly expository, account of what happened.

I had encountered him years ago and it was interesting because we both did not make very strong impressions on each other, and this was evident because he did not even remember me this time around when we met again. I am not in a habit of randomly introducing, or furthermore, re-introducing myself, to people when I encounter them again–especially if it was not necessary.  However, I don’t know what came upon me that afternoon when I reintroduced myself in a confident and friendly manner and let the whole fact that he did not even recall who I was roll down my back.

I am usually not so thick-skinned as to risk such a reception but for some reason that day I was feeling upbeat and nonchalant as I struck up some small talk reminding him about the circumstances where we met before and let the fact that he vaguely remembered pass. I went on my way and for some reason, kept on encountering him in passing and making a few comments here and there, which could be construed as small talk, except for the fact that small talk is usual trivial and both parties are not particularly interested in what the other has to say as much as they are interested in merely moving their mouths and having sounds come out and shallowly interacting.

For some strange reason, he seemed to be listening to what I said and asking relevant follow-up questions with a focused and intense gaze which signified that a flippant reply would not suffice. I am so jaded as to actually be surprised that there are conversations where people are still particularly interested in what the other party has to say, instead of merely engaging in meaningless verbal repartee. There was constant activity and our little pockets of conversation kept getting interrupted and I had to excuse myself a couple of times, a few times with relief because I was not prepared for such well thought of questions.

As chance would have it we eventually did end up having the opportunity to talk more intensely and we both were able to have a brief pocket of time when the conversation was permitted to proceed for a considerable length of time and it was like discovering a an unexpected present. I am unaccustomed to meet someone who seemed to “get” me and somehow who seemed to have the uncanny power of glimpsing into the shadow of my soul. It is rare to be able to converse with a kindred spirit, and even now, I am grateful for the moment. There are so many ephemeral moments which flit by but during rare times, we do get a treat–and this is one of them… these are moments which, while brief, possess their weight in gold.

It reminded me of Ethan Hawke’s movie Before Sunset in some ways, sans the flirtations.  As much as I would like to claim that there was a romantic interest at the beginning, it would simply not be true. It was within the context of the gripping conversation that I suddenly found an appreciate for his quiet and intense gazes and saw his pleasing looks in a whole new light. Despite occasional flights of fancies which may be indulged in my mind or in writing, I am not wont to act in a manner which reflects what I feel.

So, no, there is no fairy tale ending here nor any romantic encounters in store, as much as I may secretly hope… for a myriad of reasons including the fact that all these notions are most likely one-sided, and I am sensible enough to acknowledge it. It is one of the more unfortunate facts of life that many things which we think or feel for someone else has a high probability of being one-sided.  It doesn’t make the fact less painful to face, but the consequences of imprudently acting out on delusional thoughts would even be worse.

I find solace in the fact that I have at least made a friend. It is my wish that the friendship be more meaningful without necessarily leading down any romantic avenue which tends to be filled with emotional minefields. Perhaps this connection, real or imaginary, could last longer if it’s carefully framed as friendship because there is a certain solace in the safe distance friendship provides, though I cannot help but feel my heart skip a beat during the rare times when we communicate, nor can I help but feel my heart sink when I realize even more that this connection is special only in my own mind.

It is what it is and I am thankful to have met him again, for whatever reason.

(c) Niconica 2011*

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I was at Book Sale and I came upon a copy of this book You Just Don’t Understand: Women & Men in Conversation” by Deborah Tannen, Ph.D. – and funny enough, it was just what I needed at the time. As we get older, the more set we are in our ways and we begin to harbor the illusion that we know so much about the world–just because we’ve lived a bit… There’s something to be said for trial and error, but why go through the needless and avoidable pain when one can read up on the subject and have a better chance of avoiding the pitfalls of miscommunication–providing one reads, absorbs, and applies the guidelines judiciously. It cannot be said enough that with communication: context is key.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is in a relationship,  planning to be in a relationship, on their way to being in a relationship, or considering being in a relationship.  However, in saying all this, this book is not exclusive to people who are interested in relationships, the insights shared are also applicable to anyone who is interested in gender relations, linguistics, and social interactions. Humans might, arguably, be created equal but men and women really come from different psychological and emotional places in many ways and this fact reflects in their communication styles, and may result in creating certain levels of tension and misunderstanding, which could be avoidable if we just did our homework.

It is not wonder this book has been a hailed a “#1 International Bestseller.” A must-read!

(c) Niconica 2011*

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Healthy Boundaries

It has often been said that “Good fences make for good neighbors.” I believe that this is very true and applicable to human relationships and emotions. It is when the boundaries are blurred that we start thinking that people are either our possessions or extensions of ourselves that every starts to go a bit awry.  To have good friendships and relationships, it is imperative that we know when we stop and where the other begins.

When we over-reach beyond our boundary and start to exercise dominion over others and their lives and wishes, we are paying them a huge disrespect by proverbially kicking them off the driver’s seat of their own life and self-righteously taking the steering wheel.  Shouldn’t we already have our hands full with maneuvering our own life without needing to add more to our already heaping plate of concerns and issues.

The moment that we forget that “the other person” is an individual who has a right to exercise their own sound or faulty judgement over their own life, it is a slippery slope which eventually becomes a mad dance of attempting to exert our own power and control over the other and bending them to submit to our will–and then we wonder why they are evading us, silent, or keeping secrets from us. Once we forgot this basic decency and respect of the other as their own person, it is a step further from our own humanity since disrespecting another’s distinct humanity is not exactly commendable.

For people who are on the other side of the fence and find themselves on the receiving end of such control, passive-aggressive manipulations, and unsolicited advice, it would be time to learn to exercise your own judgement and reinforce your own boundaries by erecting a healthy fence between oneself and the would-be dominator. This does not mean becoming rebellious or aggressive, but merely not letting the person get their way and their judgements in without putting one’s own judgement and well-being into primary consideration.

In saying all this, it would be easy to mistakenly conclude that I am promoting a indifference towards the plight of others and I must say at this point that this is the last thing which I am encouraging in anyone. I believe that we can offer our help and suggestions when asked, but we must learn to step back and respect the person’s choices and not get frustrated or punish them for not doing as we have told them to or not acting as we would like them to act.

If another has said their piece and thrust their unsolicited opinions towards your direction… Step back, regroup, and exercise your own sound judgement without being bullied into a certain course of action.

If you’ve said your piece, and shared your solicited point of view… Step back, let go, and let be.

(c) Niconica 2011*

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This is more than a book review, it is a blog post in response to the http://dailypost.wordpress.com and Plinky prompt “Name a book that changed your life.” M Scott Peck‘s “The Road Less Travelled” came to mind.

It is a must-read for everyone who is trying to understand and deal with life and all the myriad difficulties which comes with it. It was first published in 1978 and already has a 25th anniversary edition in print, which goes to show that it has withstood the test of time.

If it were up to me, I would propose for this book to be mandatory reading for junior and senior students in high school.  A course devoted to it would benefit college students in their psychosocial and spiritual development and perhaps an adult introductory or refresher course could also be introduced based on the book.

This books begins acknowledging the truth that, “Life is difficult.” and then proceeds to provide us with a much-needed perspective on life and love.  It is a book which has gotten me through the more trying periods of my life and which definitely permanently deserves a place in my bookshelf.

I highly recommend it.

(c) Niconica 2011*

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Young Blood Concealer

A good concealer which matches one’s skin tone is a must in one’s cosmetic repertoire. There are many good concealers in the market and among them is the line of concealers by Young Blood.  I had the mistaken notion years ago that the concealer should be put prior to putting foundation…

I’m glad that I’ve eventually learned and adapted the correct way of applying the concealer which is after putting on the foundation, and if we were to use our fingers to apply instead of make-up brushes, the ideal method would be to lightly pat it on with the ring finger to avoid exerting too much pressure on delicate facial skin–and more especially the even more delicate under-eye skin.

I’m open to giving other cosmetic lines and products a try too but so far, I’m pretty satisfied with the Young Blood concealer.

(c) Niconica 2011*

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We used to have to consult hefty tomes of Collier’s Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica, but now thanks to Wikipedia, it was much easier to call up the definition of our topic for the day “Soulmate.”

According to Wikipedia, a soulmate is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep and natural affinity, similarity, love, intimacy, sexuality, spirituality, or compatibility.  Note, it says “or”, and not “and”.

So despite all the wonderful movies giving homage to the romanticized version a Soulmate… the other less dramatic versions of soulmate falls by the wayside.  Our friends and family members can be our soulmate too.

And before we start thinking that there is a quota of “1” for the soulmate category, I would have to say that i do not believe that there is just one soulmate for each person.

We meet many soulmates in our lifetime and we need not be in despair that the soulmate factor should only apply to romantic relationships which by their very nature, tend to be fleeting.

Some people meet a few, one, or none of their soulmates (which can also be referred to as members of their “soul group”) in their lifetime. It’s always a blessing when we do find these kindred spirits in this chaotic and spotted path we call life.

To have these kindred spirits have an intuitive understanding of us and be on the same page makes life more bearable and infinitely more enjoyable.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to images