If you don’t believe in the power of a relentlessly positive mentality and mindset that lends itself to forced action (by forced action, I mean taking action, creating action and going with the flow, i.e making your own luck), go back to your own distorted reality.

Over the course of this year, I helped a great friend of mine transcend his life. Perhaps I’m giving myself too much credit. Truthfully, I am. Allow me to rephrase: a great friend of mine transformed his life. His story is a conventional, run of the mill, ‘lost everything’ type of deal.

Long story short, he’s lost 80+ pounds and has turned his life around exponentially after losing seemingly everything. He made it happen himself.

Mindset is everything. You can change your life, given time, perseverance and persistence. No resources? Make your own resources.

Nobody said it isn’t tough, but when you like it rough and tough (don’t take this in another direction, now…) and condition yourself to the idea that hard work and trials/tribulations reaps rewards, you’ll be happy in the long run.

Forget the past, momentarily ‘live in the now’ and fight for and towards the future. That’s my philosophy. Love your life. It’s all you have.

The summers of 2008 and 2009 were magical, for me. Hell, the year 2009 itself was an incredible year for yours truly. I look back and fondly reminisce over the memories that were made and the times spent with people I thought would be around in my life forever.

I sat out on my porch yesterday evening with my legs propped up, relaxing and enjoying the pre-summer weather (my favorite at that time of the day). Days like yesterday are ones that remind me of old times. The sun shines, the atmosphere is warm and the mood is bright. Things kinda felt exactly like they did three years ago.

Except the same people aren’t around.

As the title denotes, nostalgia is a bitch by the name of Nidia.

A lot of people spend every iota of their time clinging to the vestiges of the past, what was and what never will be again. They spend minutes, hours, days, weeks and months thinking about the old during the present as time ensues, blasting towards the future. Those same people wake up one day and wonder where the hell time went, all the while their minds remain tuned into years from the past.

I’ve been like that. Not as much as before, but yesterday I was. Scenery and scents can drive one’s memory to old times. Yesterday smelled like the summers of 2008-2009.

Bittersweet, bittersweet memories.

People fascinate me. Every day I wake up in the morning, I marvel at being human. In the billions of other possible species that I could have been, I was, by luck and pure chance, thrown out of a womb that belonged to a descendant of the most cerebral species on the planet. What did I do to deserve having a human brain, the most complex system/organ in the known universe? Nothing at all. My existence is contingent. It doesn’t have to be, it isn’t necessary, and it is totally meaningless and purposeless.

But this is what makes it so amazing to be me. The fact that I don’t have to, but I do nevertheless exist, is indeed what gives my life meaning. If my existence was the decision of a higher intelligence, and if I was created and put into this world for a purpose, then my existence would be rendered less meaningful and less valuable because my life would then be the product of somebody else’s will and decision, and not the result of a meaningless accident.

To me, something that is planned is always less miraculous and exciting than something that just happened by pure chance. So miracles are in their essences, deeply paradoxical, and this is why I tend to unfold meaninglessness back upon itself until it becomes meaningful.

I would scrutinize everyday objects and events with existential joy and astonishment, for even broken condoms, car wrecks, gum wrappers, cuss words, and the kind of fallen-from-grace sort of building display brilliance and creativity unmatched by anything in the known universe. Just as the slowest and the oldest cheetahs should nevertheless deserve the praises for having great speed, the shabbiest people, spending one shabby day after another, doing their shabby work should all the same, be praised for their intelligence by a larger and wider standard. The difference between Einstein and a high school drop out is non-existence in the eyes of a monkey, dolphine, or a fish.

But on the other hand, I would feel pity towards myself and my fellow human beings when their lives are examined under a different lense. Sometimes I would watch TV in between sets during my workouts, and there would be one monitor showing ESPN, with some black guy sweating his balls out with a pole just so he could out jump his opponents by a few inches. And on the monitor next to it, there would be some seemingly insignificant flea on Animal Planet, without even asserting energy, jump over objects that are 200 times over its height. Imagine if humans have the potentials to jump that high. Even the oldest and sickest of us all would have the ability to leap over the Statue of Liberty with ease. And then I would feel obtuse, ridiculous, and hopeless for attempting to become stronger and faster, for even the most athletic human beings pale in comparison to the power and speed of many other creatures on the planet. What did I do to deserve being locked inside this weak and slow body? Nothing at all.

But then again, for most people, sense of desperation, depression, envy, jealousy and misunderstanding only comes when you compare yourself to people who are around you, and who are within your own league people like your neighbors, classmates or coworkers. We are jealous of our friends and co-workers if they are just a little bit richer than us, but lose very little sleep over how rich Steve Jobs or Michael Jordan is. I would rather live in a world where I make 10 bucks a day and everyone else makes 9 than in a world where I make 20 a day and everybody else makes 50. I see a lot of kids playing their hearts out on the basketball court at health clubs, and I used to wonder why they even bother to try, for it is obvious that people in the NBA, even the worse players, could kick their asses with minimum efforts.

And then I realized that the reason why they feel significant upon winning is because they are beating people within their own league from their own world, playing against people who are wearing the same shoe sizes as themselves. If I was beaten by Michael Jordan, I probably wouldn’t feel half as bad if I was beaten by that teammate of mine who was always competing with me for playing time even though Michael Jordan would shed a lot more blood out of me. But sometimes it helps to widen your scope, and compare yourself to members of other leagues or of other species. But such act of comparison can also be a double edged sword, as you can easily be discouraged when you are looking at the situation from the opposite direction.

When we hear people speak of the words “love” and “hate”, or the phrase, “I love you” or “I hate you”, what do they really mean? It seems to me that the word “love” is so beaten down upon, corrupted, and misused that it really makes the word trivial, and ultimately, meaningless.

But can we really use a single word like “love” to define, categorize, and quantify a hugely complex spectrum of qualitative emotions that we arrogantly dub the word “love” to? The way I see it, words are abused too often and are too arbitrary to describe human conditions at their deepest levels. Is it even justifiable to use a couple of the same words to describe emotions that are dynamic and are constantly in flux without undermining their presence and essence? What exactly is the relation between formal symbols in natural language and the private sensations of inner life?

Words like “love”, “like”, and “hate” carry many presuppositions that I want to try to overcome and think beyond. The word “love” is a word in language that designates a humanly construed, radial category of immense complexity. In this extraordinary complicated radial category, there is no single definition or of necessary and sufficient conditions that covers and defines all the cases, feelings, and sensations of love.

Phrases like “I love you”, or “I hate you” are universal and meta-narrated, where intensities and desires are heterogeneous, temporal, and fragmented. Therefore, words cannot contain the free flowing of life energy – energetics of desire that is circulating, flowing, drifting, and intensifying.

Words and language consequently freeze, immobilize, and paralyze the flow and intensities of desire and feelings due to their physicality. There are thousands of imperceptible and micro-intensities and desires that escape and overflow out of the physicality of written/spoken words in language. A word or two can never capture the break-flow of desires that multiplies in lines of escape.

When people throw around the word “love”, and abuse it to meet their means, they are presupposing that the desire they are trying to convey and communicate is a single, unified entity or phenomenon existing objectively in the world. But desires like “love” [or any other types of feelings] that we conceptualize and feel, is anything but unified, universal, or quantifiable. Sensations and emotions of any kinds do not simply designate an objectifying existing category of phenomena, defined by conditions that operate within a single logic or sets of universal representation of words and metaphorical concepts in our mind-independent world. In other words, the way we normally conceptualize and express the sensations in our inner lives is inconsistent with what language itself can provide.

“Love”, in itself is an idealized and synthetic terminology within a sign system that we point to in order to match a particular sensation with when we try to make other people feel what we feel while presupposing that the person we are speaking to has also agreed to use it that way.

But no two people can ever come to an agreement of what the word “love” feels like to the person speaking the word. Not to mention that only I can really know whether or not I feel a particular sensation, the other person can only assume to know how I feel based on a word I utter out. The concepts that are connected to a particular word are distinct from the concept of that same word in your head. When I speak of the word “love”, I am pointing to and throwing a word out there into the world so that you can match it with the concepts that exist in your mind. However, even though we share the same language and can both speak of the same word, we can only superficially understand and agree upon the meaning of that word “by principle”.

The way I look at it, feelings and sensations are different in kinds, not in degrees. Sensations and feelings are qualities that can be shown, but they cannot be said. If love or the understanding of love is to be conveyed, it cannot be done in literal language in the same way that scientific knowledge or empirical evidence is conveyed. We have to keep in mind that what we really want to say or stated is ineffable, therefore, it has to be conveyed another way: it has to be shown and felt.

When I mechanically express my sensations using the words “love”, “like”, and “infatuated”, I am presupposing that these emotions are quantitatively different in degree that is measurable (“how much do you love him?), when in fact, it is not. We tend to think that we can produce a particular sensation in succession of spatially divisible “states” that can be truncated from a larger spatial spectrum of immobile, distinct, and juxtaposed sensations that is still and could never be modified.

But phenomenologically speaking, our inner and intuitive realities are distinct in ‘kinds’, in a mobile and indivisible habit and effort that is constantly modified and becoming. Mobility and duration is inner reality itself. But because it is the habit of the minds to methodically divide the absolutely indivisible and think in a discontinuous series of psychological efforts, we tend to dwell on individual words by corresponding them to a discontinuous spatial substance; as if the presence or the change of our inner life needs a linguistic support to be felt and understood. But I always have to keep in mind when I use these words that these different words are merely artificial tags within sets of framework that we use to categorize degrees of differences and intensity of a vast spectrum of human experiences and sensations. That experiences and sensations are different in ‘kinds’, and are inconsistent and always changing.

By dubbing and matching a word to quantify a qualitative ‘kind’ of feeling that is always in flux, we are assuming that feelings are universal spectacles that are objective, mechanical, and could be logically represented using sequences of written symbols.

Again, people are used to assigning “fixed points” to their mobile spectrum of indivisible inner broadband to which they can attach thought and words. And by doing so, we are simply giving in and falling into the trap of linguistic rules, constraints and limitations. When people use language to quantify, objectify and categorize subjective feelings by spelling them out, they are in one way or another, undermining, distracting and subtracting from the rawness and authenticity of the private intuitive realities of the first person perspective that could hardly correspond to symbols or things in the world.

That’s why I think to take a single word “love” in order to try to communicate your feelings by lumping together all “kinds” of idiosyncratic sensations that are in states of constant flux into one big and static category is a violent, inconsistent, and inadequate gesture.

The limits of your own mind are different than the limits in the real world. However, the limits of your mind prevent you from doing stuff that is actually possible, making them impossible by default.

The real answer for everything is: I don’t know.

If you think you know, you’re in trouble.

If you think you know, and what you know is that you “can’t”, you just materialized that.

Say, if you go to the gym for six months, do the proper diet, do salsa and acting classes, break your comfort zone, host parties and make new friends, go spend time overseas, and by the end of it if you didn’t experience any transformation, then you “know”, or you almost know.

Knowing that you can’t without trying is just a defense to protect your current comfort zone.

So, it’s not really a “cant”, but a want. You don’t want. That’s OK. But it’s not about what’s possible, but about what you’re willing to give up in exchange.

Talking you out of it won’t work. Even forcing you do to the actions won’t work since you would sabotage the process.

But if life forced you, by burning your house, burning your country, burning your life, and you had to survive by changing, you would do it.

The excuses are a waste of time.

You want to dance? You can. You want to become more extroverted? You can. You want to play tennis? You can.

Can you be as good as Roger Federer, as charismatic as George Clooney, as successful as Bill Gates? You’ll find the limits there. Because you’re comparing against other people, you’re entering a competition.

You can do a lot of stuff. It doesn’t mean you will “win” nor that you’ll be ‘as good as’.

Though, chances are you’re using the ‘as good as’ as the excuse for not doing. The two are unrelated. Say, you don’t need to be ‘as good as’ the French master chef in order to have a restaurant. You don’t need to be George Clooney to have charisma. You don’t need to be Roger Federer to play tennis and win tennis matches. Not one of these guys are preventing you to learn and have your own quota of success.

The not doing is.

Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop…

I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now, but if you haven’t, get this: a snotty little 15 year old girl went on Facebook and ranted about not wanting to get off her ass to do chores around the house. In layman’s terms, she shit talked her parents, tried to hide the post from them, and her father found out.

What ensued? Oh, well, you will just have to watch this video: