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The Weight Of Words

“When we do things with love, even if we believe we have failed, something good can always come out of it, something good can be made from it, because the initial substance with which we started is the purest of them all: love. Such a tiny, all-encompassing word that we can feel better than we can explain.

Good things in their purest form take time, effort, dedication, and perseverance. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it. Fight. Fight fiercely and humbly for everything you believe in. As long as your motivation is sincere love, you will never truly fail.

Everything in life is permeated by the very real magic of love. Choose to see things, people, and situations through that lens and your path will always unfold before you. We can never truly measure the impact we have on others, but as long as love is our motivation, we will leave the Earth a better place than how we found it.”

I wrote the words above in a letter to my sister the morning of the day I met you. Sometimes even I’m surprised by what I write, which is why I like having words as evidence. During times when I’ve lost touch with myself, they form a trail that reminds me of what’s important.

Words carry a lot of weight. This means that, when we’re reckless with them, people get hurt. We know this, we say it, we acknowledge it, but we don’t really process it until it happens to us.

Meeting you was magical, but seeing that magic abruptly come to an end was heartbreaking. Fast forward to today: As I sit here writing this and wishing I were back in the mind-set with which I wrote the letter to my sister –back to a time when the thought of meeting someone like you inspired a profound hope within me—, I wish you truly knew how destructive your words and actions were, how much pain they’ve caused, and how much I hope you never, ever, do that again to anyone. Ever.

I’ve been so angry at you since this ended. So, so angry. I hate being angry. It eats away at me. It strips me of my joy. It burns my insides and makes me feel like I want to punch someone at every turn. Never in my life have I wanted to own a punching bag more than I have in the past week.

Being angry makes me bitter and puts me in a terrible mood with the world. I walk around trying to hide the scowl on my face. I want to scream. I want to scream and cry without anyone watching or asking me if I’m OK, when it’s clear that I’m not.

I’m not used to indulging in anger. I’ve learned how destructive it can be to let it run loose, thus I’ve convinced myself that I don’t have the right or the privilege to allow myself to feel it. But this attitude is also intoxicating. My anger needs an outlet.

I’m hurt and I’m frustrated. I want to scream at you, too, and show you how much you hurt me, but there’s really no point to that. No grace, either. Somehow, suffering in silence in this case feels more dignified. You don’t really deserve my time or any part of me, good or bad.

Except, I wanted you to be deserving of all of me. There’s the catch. I wanted you to be genuine, and trustworthy, and real, and the “you” I started getting to know and really liked and could see myself falling for. You were that person for a little while, until your mask fell off.

The funny thing is, your mask falling off didn’t actually scare me. At all. I would’ve still chosen to stay by your side to continue getting to know you, supporting you however I could, but instead you chose to get rid of me in the most immature of all possible ways. To that last bit, I say: Seriously, grow the fuck up.

Although a part of me understands why you decided to cut ties, what I don’t understand is why you handled it the way you did. Most of all, what I cannot grasp –for the life of me—is why you felt the need to lie.

When I look back on our time together, I stand by everything I said and did while with you. I was truly, fully me. I never misled you. I never showed myself to be an irrational, uncaring person. If you had sat me down, looked me straight in the eye like a grown man, and explained what you were going through and that you needed to be alone, I would’ve completely understood. It still would’ve stung, yes, but the door would’ve probably remained open for future interactions.

Now that you’ve completely betrayed my trust, there’s no going back.

I really, truly, sincerely hope you can figure yourself and your life out during this process, because the man you aspire to be –that man I got to know before your mask disintegrated—is incredible. Absolutely incredible. It was the man I was looking for. You’re just not him yet.

It’s a shame it was such bad timing. And it’s a shame you were so reckless with your words and actions. You had me going for a while. But like I said: I forgive you, because only God knows how many countless times I’ve been forgiven in the past. My forgiveness doesn’t justify your recklessness; it simply means that I refuse to let it ruin me.

Here’s to working on myself again, and to regaining love, that love that has inspired me so deeply and that allowed me to become vulnerable with you despite the risk and the subsequent pain, and despite all of the past experiences that have left scars. We’ve all had them, but it’s how we come out of them that counts.

And, as a side note more to myself than anyone else, I will find him. I will find that guy that will prove all of the assholes wrong. He is out there, and he is worth every last bit of the journey of going through hell and emerging wiser and stronger, but none the worse for the wear… Only wearing pure, unadulterated love.

Photo by: Gautam Sodera / San Francisco, CA, USA

The Mustard Seed Within

We dream things. We dream them big and small. We even dare to dream dreams undreamt of before. Many of us turn these dreams into reality against all odds. We fight for them; we adapt for them; we change for them; we move mountains for them. We find a great and wondrous strength within us that allows us to chase after them and breathe them into being.

But often, our dreams begin to frighten us to inaction. We convince ourselves that we’re not good enough and, therefore, that they’re unachievable. We believe we don’t deserve to bring them to fruition. We see the work that lies ahead, the obstacles and overly beaten paths we must endure and cross, and we shy away into complacency; we wither in our comfort zones.

When does this happen? And why? How does a confident and persistent person go from running head first into every adventure ready to fly, to thinking that it’d be best to lay back and watch life happen before her eyes because everything she wishes for can’t possibly become a reality?

At what point, and under what unfortunate circumstances, does she lose touch with that childish magic needed to survive in this adult world blinded by extreme reason and logic?

Where is her faith?

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

All of those dreams, all of the ones you had given up on, all of the ones you had deemed impossible or unworthy because of your own unworthiness… All of them, are possible. The minute you convince yourself otherwise, you’ve lost.

Keep the faith, be ready to get your hands dirty for what you love, to put in the time to live and experience everything that happens while on this journey, and all else will follow.

Photo by: Belén Alemán / View of Barcelona from Park Güell

She

She felt herself a victim of the world, of this cruel and unequal place into which she was born without a say. She was told she had to conform to society, but society was difficult and unfair and chaotic, and not at all what her mind, body, and soul required to achieve that inner peace to which she was told she must strive.

There were too many pressures, constantly and from all sides, enough to make any human go mad. She thought herself a fighter, always seeking to do justice, but felt cut short not by her own faults, rather by a lack of resources. She craved time, yet never felt she could afford to make it.

She would watch others attempt to follow their dreams and would think, “Oh, what fools!” She would see them fail and fall and dust themselves off and try, try again, and again, and again, until finally she would stop paying attention from the dizziness it caused her.

Whenever she paused to think and re-consider her path in life –which wasn’t often, because who has the time for that?—a certain unease would begin to creep up on her, something she had felt with more insistence when she was younger, but which had been transformed from a sharp nudge into a barely-there whisper over the years. She had long since lost touch with her heart; it was a block of solid ice. Her mind ruled it all and she was the better for it, she thought with conviction.

Everyone and everything else was to blame. Not her.

Much later, she suddenly found herself on her death bed. The years had sneaked by and taken their toll, and she caught herself unexpectedly reviewing her life through the lens of unsolicited regret. Although her body was nearly immobilized by the weight of time, her mind, that alleged faithful partner that had been tasked with guiding her, was still intact. It now seemed to be taking absurd pleasure in torturing her with all of the should-haves, could-haves, and what-ifs to which her heart had, at one point, tried to alert her.

That solid block of ice had started to melt, but it was too late. She saw how clearly wrong she had been. She had never been a victim of the world, as she had once thought. How could she have been? After all, she was the only one in charge of herself and of how she reacted to her surroundings. She had always been given the chance to choose hope over fear, just like everyone else, and to act on that hope.

No, she had never fallen victim to the world. She had, in fact, only ever fallen victim to herself and to her own false truths. And that is how, in this state of reflection and accompanied only by bitter tears, her aged body forced her to exhale her last breath.

In her entire life, that final action was the only thing that was ever out of her control.

Photo by: Belén Alemán / Isla Verde, Puerto Rico

Choosing Not To Choose

Choices.

I wrote this word down after a conversation I had at Glide, the place where a few of us volunteer once a week to help serve breakfast to the homeless in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. We were wondering if there was any way to simplify the process of serving food so that it would be easier both for the staff, as well as for the clients.

While casually brainstorming ideas, Brando, the manager of the Free Daily Meals Program, made an interesting comment: those that come to Glide don’t have the privilege of making choices throughout their day. They go about their lives depending on the goodwill of others. “Most of the time, they don’t even get to choose where they go to the bathroom,” he said, and it’s true. A lot of us can walk into a Starbucks to use the restroom, but if any of the people that go to Glide try to do the same, they will be rejected 95% of the time solely based on appearance.

This obviously stuck with me and made me consider my own daily routine. I choose to get out of bed every morning. I choose to get dressed. I choose to go to the office and work. I choose my meals. I choose whether I go out or stay in, whether I exercise or stuff my face with a pint of Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream (or both). I choose when to take vacation, when to pay off my credit cards… The list is obviously never-ending.

I’ve thought about whether it’s really fair for me to say that I choose to go to work, for example. Work becomes pretty mandatory for most of us if we want to survive in society, especially when we try to raise a family. It is our means of survival. However, the same applies to Glide’s clients, yet many of them, although they may wish to work, are denied the opportunity. They’re not unemployed because they’re lazy (although some of them might be), but rather because a lot of them have been deemed unworthy to contribute to a society that judges them on an infinite number of standards silently decided upon by all of us, because we are society. Another choice made for them, not by them.

When I considered all of this, and then tied it back to seeing choices as a privilege, I suddenly changed the way I speak about things I crave to do, yet for which “I don’t have the time.” We don’t own time, therefore we will never “have” it, and going about our lives thinking this way is dangerous, because it allows us to place the blame externally instead of changing our behaviors, which we do own. It’s quite simple, but the simplest things are often the hardest to grasp and cope with: we make time, or we don’t. Period.

All of those instances in which I complained that I didn’t have time to sit down and write this blog post? Or practice with my guitar? Or take a Saturday to surf? Or do all of the other things I get to choose to do with my life? All of that was my fault. I didn’t make time for it. And that, in and of itself, was another choice: I chose not to choose them.

And that’s probably the mother of all privileges.

Photo by: Belén Alemán / San Francisco, CA, USA

Did I Really Just Meet The Real-Life Carrie From “Sex and the City”?

Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City." Photo taken from Google.

Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City.” Photo taken from Google.

…Yes, yes I did. I’m not kidding. If Carrie hadn’t married Big and wasn’t living in a multi-million dollar New York City apartment, she would be living in San Francisco, have a boyfriend, and would be running her own successful business helping companies craft their stories through creative writing. And she would be THE BOMB.

Real-life Carrie worked as a journalist for 15 years, both in newspapers and in magazines; at one time, she was the editor of Elle. Like most women that have lived in NYC, she can rattle off crazy dating stories like it’s her job, and she’s quick to smile and laugh, just like fictional Carrie. They share a subtle similarity in voice tone, and they are both tiny, fit and, simply put, badass.

Real-life Carrie has been in San Francisco for 7 years after pausing her career to get an MBA with a focus on sustainability. As a journalist, she discovered she didn’t like the objective gap needed when interviewing others; instead, she wanted to side with the people she met, feel their stories with them, help them craft it and tell it in a way that helped inspire others. Now, as a small-business owner, she has that opportunity.

How did I meet her? I was at a Starbucks getting some work done when she walked in and asked, with a huge, warm smile, if she could sit next to me and share my table.

Why am I writing about her? Because, aside from my you-are-seriously-Carrie-from-Sex-and-the-City-and-this-is-ridiculous fascination with her, she reminded me of the woman I strive to become each day.

Here was a beautiful stranger who started a conversation with me without missing a beat, whose glow and inner light shone through her effortlessly, whose fragility in body did not undermine the strength of her spirit. Here is a woman who has done most of the things I’d like to do career-wise, who isn’t married and seems totally unconcerned about it with regards to her age (she’s in her late 30s); a woman whom I don’t really know at all, yet who was able to inspire me in a short two hours of solid chit-chat, with topics ranging from how silly San Franciscans get over their juice-cleanse-craze to why in New York you can be surrounded by so many human beings and still feel lonelier than you have your entire life.

Real-life Carrie was a breath of fresh air; she is a thousand times better than fictional Carrie. You have no idea how refreshing it was to talk to a woman who doesn’t give two flying F-bombs about what anyone thinks of her, yet doesn’t let that attitude poison her with arrogance. She is simply herself, authentic, easy-going, free-willed, spirited, and so mind-blowingly comfortable in her own skin that she inevitably, and maybe even without realizing it, makes you feel like you, too, can conquer the world, your life, and anything in between.

She added me on LinkedIn, which means she might happen upon this blog if she is ever interested enough to look for it. I’m not going to tell her I wrote this post; I’d rather she find it on her own if she’s meant to do so, because the point isn’t to impress her; the point is to simply and humbly say: THANK YOU. Thank you for being such an awesome real-life role model, and I sincerely hope we get to cross paths again soon.

Cover photo by: Belén Alemán / New York City, NY, USA

On The Run: An Oregon-California Road Trip

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike, and all plans, safeguards, policies and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggles that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” – John Steinbeck

A friend and I spontaneously decided to visit Portland, Oregon, over Thanksgiving break because neither of us had ever been, so why not? We bought last minute tickets to fly up on Friday, and decided to drive back down that Sunday.

Just like any trip, no matter how well planned, there are always things you cannot control. Although beautiful, Portland turned out to be freezing, and pretty wet: we got rain, snow, and hail. I assume all three were necessary, just for good measure. However, despite not being dressed appropriately for the cold (which goes to show that we’ve become California brats in a few short months, since we saw the 30ºF/-1ºC  forecast, looked at our winter coats, laughed, and thought “Who needs them, right?” WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. Thank God for Black Friday and 50% off at Gap!), we still had a great time.

The drive back down was both amazing and tough. We got to see all of the Oregon coast, which is stunningly beautiful, yet missed out on the Cali coast due to a lack of daylight — By 5pm, it looked like it was midnight outside, with no street lamps to help. We also got stuck in an extreme downpour, which deserves its own special mention, since it’s rained only about 5 times in the 10 months we’ve been in San Francisco. In any case, the 16 hour drive is well worth it if you can afford the extra day of driving and can therefore split it into two parts, or if you can wait until the summer to do it.

Before the trip, I decided I wanted to document it in a different way. Words are pretty, but so are photos, and since photography is one of my bigger hobbies, I wanted to create my first photo-journal type of post.

Both Flora and I had a great time snapping these, and we hope you enjoy them as well :)

Note: You can click on the photos in the mosaics to make them bigger.

Day 1 – Friday: Arrival and Holy Crap Why Is It So Cold?!

Amanecer SFSunrise on our way to SFO.

There was a clear winner in Portland — Rain: 10,000. Belén: 0. I lost that umbrella, RIP. But rain aside, THAT HUGE LEAF!

Pizza PyramidGlad we’ve all got our priorities straight.

Powell’s Books, one of the largest independent new and used bookstores. Also known as my first happy place of the trip. Found a small tribute to my favorite author, Gabriel García Márquez, and the gem I bought: Hermann Hesse’s fairytales. Also, those mugs say “I like big books and I cannot lie.” YES. 

Dark Hot ChocolateMy second happy place: Cacao. We warmed up with some much needed hot dark chocolate. 

SmoochesWhile shopping, we found this adorable sign, and I couldn’t resist!

I took this as we ate, but we counted the final amount of sushi plates: 18. And it only cost us $27 total. Amazeballs. 

Day 2 – Saturday: It’s Even Colder Today, So Let’s Eat Our Feelings

Our second day started off with the ridiculous, albeit delicious, Voodoo donuts. So much sweetness. A must if you visit PDX.

Lunch was at Tasty N Alder, and all the recommendations we got for it were on point. The food was incredible, and our waitress, Chelsea, was the coolest girl we met in Portland.

DSC_0084At one point, we found a photo booth, and we got way too excited for it. It turned out to be out of order, so in retaliation, we took a selfie in the photo booth’s mirror. 

And yes, for those of you wondering, I did take photos of the actual city #easilydistractedbyfoodandprettythings 

On the left is the duck dish I had that night at Andina, a Peruvian restaurant that absolutely killed it. Afterwards, we met up with a friend for drinks and she brought us real peacock feathers as a gift. Her mom’s boyfriend’s family owns a peacock farm, because who wouldn’t? 

Day 3 – Sunday: Road Trip!

There are no words to describe the beauty of the Oregon coast. Simply click on the images to enlarge them and try to envision it for yourself.

There was definitely a stop made for a caramel apple and a mid-road-trip selfie.

Oregon SunsetAnd this glorious sunset happened. I may or may not have snapped this while driving, but I couldn’t help it; it left me speechless. God is good.

Finally, after 8 hours of driving, we made it to Cali and had one of those OMG-I’M-STANDING-IN-TWO-STATES-AT-THE-SAME-TIME moments. From there, we only had about 8 more rainy hours to go!

It was absolutely worth it. I’ll leave you with our Beyoncé and JayZ-inspired trip theme:

Flo and B on the RunFlo & B – On the Run

 All photos by: Belén Alemán & Flora Capaldi

When Was The Last Time?

Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
And another one.
Feel your ribs expand as your lungs fill themselves with air, then feel them contract as you exhale.
Another deep breath.

No, that wasn’t the beginning of a yoga class. That was me trying to make you aware of something we do so naturally at each moment that we take it for granted.

Do you realize what a blessing it is to not have to consciously think about breathing? That our bodies and minds silently and relentlessly do the work for us?

When was the last time you stopped to be thankful and appreciative?

Consider the rest of your life, as well. Consider everything you’re going through, good and bad. Are you able to recognize the blessings being poured out to you amidst it all?

When was the last time you paused and took it all in?

With the holidays around the corner, I urge you to take some time out for yourself, to get back in touch with everything you are, and to be thankful for all things and people in your life, no matter the trouble they may be causing.

You’re alive, you’re well, you’re breathing. That’s more than what a lot of people can say. Go do something with the time and the gifts you’ve been given. Go be a blessing for someone else. Whatever goes around, comes around, and you won’t regret it.

Photo by: Belén Alemán / Point Bonita Lighthouse, California, USA

A Reckless Abandonment of Self

There’s a song lyric by my favorite Argentine band, Soda Stereo, that I love above all others: “El silencio no es tiempo perdido” – “Silence is not time wasted.”

There are many times when words are not necessary, neither written nor spoken. It’s a hard lesson to learn for those of us who love words and who also love letting our tongues run loose.

For me, the greater lesson I constantly struggle to grasp is to not fall prey to extremes. I don’t like it when things are black or white; there are too many shades of gray in between. However, if I happen to be in the process of teaching myself to keep my mouth shut, to listen to another instead of interrupting them with my unsolicited ideas and opinions, I will most likely end up defaulting to the other side of the spectrum: I won’t speak up when it is correct and healthy for me to do so.

Anger is an emotion that I used to never keep inside, but I have started bottling it up over the last few years. There are several reasons for this: first, I try to be aware of the energy and attitude I put out; I tend to associate anger with destruction, and I’m not about that anymore. Second, I don’t want to burden anyone with my shitty emotions, especially those around me that are not the cause of my anger. Third, almost nothing is ever resolved while being angry.

However, I must say that these reasons have begun being challenged, mostly due to the realization that by keeping my anger inside, I was nearing a point of reckless abandonment of self. What I mean is: I was not sticking up for myself during moments in which it was perfectly acceptable, and even recommended, that I do so.

I was essentially being a pushover.

Two different things happened, coincidently within the span of two days, that made me incredibly angry recently. Each event was unrelated to the other; one involved only my own shortcomings and the other had to do with someone else, and although I will forgo the details of the episodes, I’m very, very happy that my anger was so extreme, so out of character for me, that it finally knocked some sense into me.

At any given moment, we are responsible for the words that must be uttered, whether to ourselves or to another person, that will help those involved change their life situation for the better. To be a good listener is a skill everyone should learn in life; however, to speak up with courage, albeit with a sort of compassionate chastisement, is also crucial. Those whom you are here to serve –those in your inner circle whom you can affect and inspire on a daily basis—may unknowingly be depending on you to be the blessing they need to make the change they’ve been struggling to achieve.

This isn’t to say that said people will definitely take action after hearing our words, but I believe our duty is to put those words out there so that we can at least enable them to act with confidence if they so choose. Once we’ve done our part, it’s up to them to follow through –and it’s always good for them to know that we will be there to help.

The same goes for us: once we’ve spoken words of truth and wisdom to ourselves in a moment of clarity, it’s our choice to follow up. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to strive to become better each day using the knowledge we’ve gained through hardships?

Photo by: Flora Capaldi / California, USA

Because I’m…

“How are you?” a friend asked. For the first time in a while, I paused to think about my response. This has become such an easy question to answer with a quick and lazy “Good, you?” that stopping myself from vomiting that phrase was a hard task, harder than it should have been.

This time, though, I pushed myself to think before responding because I wanted to get an accurate reading of how I felt. Without being fully aware of it, I was craving to get back in touch with myself, similar to the times I realize, almost all of a sudden, that I haven’t taken a long, deep breath all day and I force myself into it. It was a much-needed, please-just-take-one-second-for-yourself, break.

Finally, I replied with an answer so honest that it even surprised me: “I’m… HAPPY!” It came complete with a wide, satisfied smile.

How are you doing? Are you happy? Why or why not? What needs to change?

While I welcome your answers, I don’t need them; you do. They’re for you to ponder and to use to help you evaluate what your next move in life will be, whether that may mean taking two steps forward, four to the side, or several backwards. Any direction you take that helps you improve is one worth taking.

When I stop to consider my life, especially during the last three years, I sometimes struggle to comprehend how I got to where I am today. I am incredibly mind blown, and if I were to sit down right now with my 17-year-old self to discuss the past decade (!!!) with her, I would have no idea where to start. However, I can picture her utterly wide-eyed and practically jumping out of her seat with ridiculous excitement over a few things she’d learn about her future, and no doubt I would watch her shed tears over several events that were nothing short of heartbreaking.

Such is life, and I would not alter any of it. I know my 17-year-old self wouldn’t, either, and that gives me a tremendous sense of comfort. How can I be sure of this, you ask? Because the one constant that still exists between my past and present self, no matter how different we have become, is that I still cherish improving daily as a human being just as much –if not more—as I did back then.

This is something about me that I believe will never change, and I’m grateful for it, because it has played the key role in everything that has occurred in my life up to this point, and today I’m wise enough to understand that it will continue to shape my future.

About said future: it is something you and I create each day, step by step. I cannot tell you where I see myself five years down the road; I simply do not have that foresight, but that doesn’t worry me. All that matters is that I’m happy now, here, today, exactly where I am and how I am, and I am excited about the person I am continuously becoming.

I hope you are, too. Cheers to you, and to your own personal journey.

Photo by: Ananda Day / California, USA

We Can Do More

“That man is always in a bad mood!” I said, annoyed.

Brando smiled back and, with a you-should-know-better-than-to-say-that look, he responded: “Well, I would be, too, if I had to sleep on the pavement every night.”

Aaaaand that is how I was promptly and swiftly put. in. my. place.
Touché Brando. You win.

For the last month, I’ve been volunteering at Glide, a non-profit that, among other things, has one of the biggest free daily meals programs in San Francisco: they serve over 500 people per meal three times a day.

Once a week, I join other volunteers and help serve breakfast to poor and low-income residents of the Tenderloin neighborhood. I’ve found it to be very rewarding thus far, which is why I continue to go back, and Brando, the Free Meals Program Manager, and everyone else I’ve met has been wonderful.

Glide’s clients, as they are referred to, range from being quiet and distant, to bubbly and outgoing, to pretty aggressive at times. No matter the circumstances or the mood, as a volunteer you are always supposed to have a smile on your face, remembering you are there to serve and help alleviate even one small part of their day. This, of course, is sometimes easier said than done, especially when you are mistreated for no apparent reason other than a client’s crankiness.

But, isn’t that a human syndrome? Having a bad attitude or being in a bad mood has nothing to do with poverty; it has more to do with ungratefulness.

Now, before sitting down to write this, I debated whether that last sentence above should see the light of day. Since Brando put me in my place, I’ve been asking myself: can I expect someone that lives in dire circumstances to feel grateful at all? Is it fair for me to ask that question, considering I can buy food whenever my stomach desires –and many times I stuff myself guiltlessly with it—and that I sleep on a memory foam mattress that feels like I’m floating on a cloud?

By all intents and purposes, I’m disgustingly spoiled. Therefore, no: I don’t feel like I can blame anyone else for having a shitty attitude about their misfortunes.

Yet, that also doesn’t sound totally right. Blame them? Definitely not. Hold them accountable? Maybe. Let’s think about this… I always write about how the only thing we humans can control in any situation and at any given moment is our attitude, which determines how we react to everything. I don’t wish poverty or misfortune on anyone, not even if I may believe they “deserve” it – It doesn’t really matter what I think someone else deserves, since I am always limited to my own narrow perspective and, therefore, I do not feel like I am in a place to judge appropriately.

However, without judging, I really think most of us can try harder on a daily basis. Maybe not Glide’s clients. Maybe by simply showing up at Glide, they are doing everything they can in that moment, and I respect that. But most of us aren’t doing everything we can do. Most of us aren’t giving all that we can give.

Most of us need to start caring a whole lot more if we plan to make a difference before we’re gone. By no means do I think I’m better than anyone for volunteering, and I sincerely hope it’s not coming across that way. It’s quite the opposite, actually: since starting to volunteer, I’ve realized how much I’ve been slacking and how much of me and of my time could still be donated to help alleviate someone else’s pain.

Join me? Do something, anything! There are so many possibilities. Just helping one person might be all you can do. If that is the case, that will be enough.

Photo by: Belén Alemán / Seen at Moka Coffee in San Francisco, CA, USA