Future Perfect

Future Perfect

"The past is always tense, the future perfect."

"You have the option to choose saving yourself from REGRET, which is an open hearted space, rather than saving yourself from EMBARRASSMENT, which is a closed hearted space."



- This is actually very sound advice from Kavita that explains why I always send the uncomfortable text or email. The former is better. 



2014 Intentions.

It took me a lot longer to put this together, but it was worth it. People always shit on New Year’s resolutions, but the reality is that we keep making them. That’s because people like setting intentions for themselves. It’s okay if you fail or change your mind—you’re just taking stock of your life.

I used The Desire Map to structure my intentions for the year. I loved every second of the process, which helps you figure out what you really want to feel first before you set any goals. Any goals you set are in service to your core desired feelings. Simple but still kind of revolutionary. Categories below are also from the book. Danielle Laporte is legit. 

Core desired feelings: ease, openness, connection, love, bold

2014 core intentions:

Lifestyle and Livelihood (work, money, travel, home, style)

Body and Wellness (fitness, food, mental health, rest, movement, sensuality)

Relationships and Society (romance, friendship, family, community, causes, collaboration)

Creativity and Learning (hobbies, interests, education, artistic self-expression)

Essence and Spirituality (soul, inner truth, faith, practices)

"In the depths of winter, I learned that there was in me an invincible summer."



- Albert Camus



The Retreat

In recent months, I’ve felt the urge to take a personal retreat, a time to assess where I’m at and think about the future. On the surface, I wanted to stop talking so much, eat delicious, healthy things, stay active and read everything. Preferably somewhere beautiful and without a wi-fi signal. 

I don’t want to share where I stayed, to be honest, because there’s something sacred about this place for me now. I can tell you that I was in a retreat in a jungle off the side of a mountain range somewhere quite warm and right next to the ocean . There were about 10 other people staying in different casitas, lovely open air spaces where I showered outside and lit candles and oil lamps to see after sundown. Our rooms were separated by sloping trails, and we’d hike up together for meals and the occasional yoga.   

The weather was warm, and I had access to a private beach. I brought a ton of books, a few journals, some music, a flashlight, nice underthings.

I can tell you that this retreat was one of the best things I’ve ever done. 

I set intentions in a mini-opening ceremony:

“Over the next week, I ask myself: “What can I do to feel more loved?,” “How can I get rid of the cloud of sadness that follows me each year no matter where I live, or what I do?” and “What are my true desires?”

Every morning, I woke to the sound of rowdy chachalaca birds. I navigated around  paths of poop from a family of gray foxes. I read A New Earth, The Glass Castle, The Road, A Visit from the Goon Squad and Americanah. I used Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map to drill down on my real feelings and plan out the next year. I never wore makeup, and there weren’t any mirrors.

The food was a feast: all organic, gluten-free, incredibly delicious. I had cream of almond and broccoli soup, grouper, quinoa, coconut ice cream, tofu, pumpkin tart, apple crumble, huevos rancheros, shrimp, chestnut and ginger soup, granola and many cups of tea.

I bouldered across different beaches, proud of myself for making the climb. I held my hands up in the air in front of wild, crashing waves and sang “My Heart Will Go On” at the top of my lungs. Huge swaths of time, I was the only person around, and I took advantage by skipping, singing and stopping when and where I wanted. I siestaed in colorful hammocks strategically placed around the land. I rarely knew what time it was. 

I veered a little off course mid-week and made friends. We sat together when humpback whales breached in the ocean in front of us and when Christmas Eve fireworks lit the sky.

Still, I found myself keeping distance. Even in brief, surface-level conversations, I became self-critical and competitive—the exact feelings I was trying to avoid. I didn’t come to judge or be judged. For the rest of the trip, I minimized interaction to some meals (worried, then, I was coming off as too rude) until the last night when I decided an evening of flirtation and community were what I wanted. 

I woke up in the middle of one night to the most awe-inspiring thunderstorm I’d ever experienced. Every beat, lightning lit up the entire jungle. Thunder cracked with power and brute force. The rain was relentless. The swinging doors of my casita opened a few times, but I was dry. I covered my books with a towel and teared up for the first and only time that week. The rain forced cleansing. It rained for hours, and I stayed up to write.  Gradually, the lightning slowed to three beats. Then four. Then five. The jungle was the quietest it had been since I arrived, thirsty creatures and plants offering their silent gratitude. 

Even paradise can feel constricting. I ventured off into town one afternoon and was overwhelmed by the noise, the people, the crowded beach. I quickly returned to my escape. 

Instead of one giant, emotional epiphany, I had several small moments of clarity.

A laundry list of things I know to be true:

image

(I believe the cool kids would say “#nofilter.”)

"Power is being told you are not loved and not being destroyed by it."



- Madonna, allegedly.



Giving Thanks

Setting Intentions

I have a history of writing things that hurt people.

When I was in high school, I kept a blog that was widely read (and often scorned) by my group of friends. In it, I was reckless with my emotions and opinions, often exaggerating about certain events, and I received enough hateful anonymous comments in return to trick myself into thinking I was someone important, someone who was better than the place I came from. 

In college, I kept a different blog that was more discreet but served as a harrowing chronology of my battle with depression and heartbreak.

Then I stopped writing. Aside from a few well-received personal essays (well, my family wasn’t crazy about them), I’ve kept relatively quiet on the self-publishing front. And it’s been a good thing, I think. I’m an undisciplined, emotional writer, and I tend to write only when I’m feeling very badly. The fact that I haven’t regularly written in years only speaks to how much progress I’ve made in becoming a human adult with more control over my emotions.

I would like to write again, though, and I’d like to do it in a way that’s not completely destructive. I’ve been processing a lot of events from my past, and I’d like to write about them without being completely afraid of what people will think of me or how people will react. 

Consider this my only preface.

"The summary of my life is three statements: I was immature, I became experienced, I was consumed."



- Rumi




“I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’”

“I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’”

Wild

Finished Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, and I feel totally gutted. Having a lot of complicated feelings about my family, specifically my mother and how I’ve been treating her all these years. Also spending a ton of time alone right now, by choice, and I can’t tell if it’s a form of pre-depression or just a reality of adulthood. I don’t need people as much as I did when I was young.

On a positive note, I think that Wild may be the book that gets me to write again.

7 years. Still here.

"A huge appetite for success and an equally deep desire for simplicity."



- My biggest challenge as I figure out what I want in my life, recently articulated.



"A woman saying yes to a date with a man is literally insane, and ill-advised, and the whole species’ existence counts on them doing it. I don’t know how women still go out with guys when you consider that there’s no greater threat to women than men. We’re the number one threat to women! Globally and historically, we’re the number one cause of injury and mayhem to women, we’re the worst thing that ever happens to them. If you’re a guy, try to imagine that you could only date a half-bear, half-lion, like, “Ugh, I hope this one’s nice.”"



-

Louis C.K. (via unignorable)

Actually working on something related to this idea. So true. 



No words.

No words.

"The past is always tense, the future perfect."



- zadie