Plucking Sunrays http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays en-us Sat, 29 Feb 2020 05:03:44 +0000 http://sett.com Sett RSS Generator Gloriously Reckless http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/gloriously-reckless Teetering at the edge of a major life-altering shift is invigorating. It's terrifying but in an impossibly hopeful way. The abyss below is a void of uncertainty and fear and a boundless unknown. But at the same time it's a never ending force of hope that laps at your feet, beckoning you onwards. I am currently at one of these pivotal moments on my life. I'm ready to reflect and reinvent. Unfortunately I feel tethered. I feel as though I can't truly bask in my hopes for the future. The most heart wrenching part is that I can't because of something that once made me so happy.

Three years ago I met a boy. The first boy that had ever noticed me. I was rather a late bloomer as far as relationships go but so was he. We were both awkward, gangly teenager and so of course the first few months were pure sunshine. Blinding sunshine that blocked out the imperfections, the irritations. I can't say what I did for him, but during that time he helped me grow confidence and grow into myself. Now I'm comfortable with who I am and what I want, but I'm not so sure he is what I want anymore. And that's the problem.

I was so eager to be in a relationship that I didn't care who it was with. I just knew I didn't want to be alone. Now I feel confident and self-aware enough that I feel as though I am strong enough to be alone. And in a way I truly want to be alone. The next few years hold unlimited possibility for me and I don't want to squander them by being held back. I want to spend this time focused on me, not my relationship.

The question is should I end it or try to loosen the relationship to where I have more time to myself?He has done nothing wrong, but I don't feel as sure about us. I've changed drastically in the last few years and I think I deserve more. What we have is safe. I crave the new and the unknown and the daring. It sounds ungrateful, but I just have an overwhelming feeling that there's something greater waiting for me. Maybe there isn't but I need to explore other avenues to assure myself that the first love I ever encountered just happened to be the most enduring.

I don't want to continue this tediously careful and safe path. I want to live and be gloriously reckless.

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Sat, 12 Apr 2014 03:56:00 +0000 http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/gloriously-reckless
Read Like a Beast (Speed Reading) http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/read-like-a-beast-speed-reading Hello, my name is Liliana and I am a chronic(ly) slow reader.

To me, admitting that fact is like going to an AA meeting and confessing to be a raging, out of control drunk. It's embarrassing. And for the longest time I thought I couldn't control it.

I started to read quite early on and became an avid reader at the age of 5, when I picked up my first Harry Potter book. Yes 5. However, it wasn't until I reached middle school that I realized I read at half the pace as my peers. I had three times their vocabulary and had already tackled Wuthering Heights by 7th grade, but I could not bring myself to develop fast reading skills. I continued to plow on with my novels, thinking that the speed was bound to come the more I read. I thought it was like sport where you would become faster, better, stronger the more time you put into practice. This is not the case. But it does not mean you cannot improve your reading speed.

Do not worry do not fret! All is well but not just yet!

I recently stumbled across this post about how to read faster. I highly encourage you to check it out even if you think your reading speed is up to par. For those that don't think these simple methods can aid their helpless cause, keep in mind that that even I, the chronicly slow reader, saw improvements almost immediately. Unlike other blogs or articles, this one gives you exercises and precise ways to improve your speed and accuracy. Enjoy!

Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes

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Mon, 31 Mar 2014 02:54:03 +0000 http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/read-like-a-beast-speed-reading
Say Yes Challenge http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/say-yes-challenge2 In my last post I discussed the power of words. Now I want to talk about the power of just one word: yes.

The saying is true: when you get older, the years rush past you at a greater pace. The sunbathed days of your childhood that stretched on forever are no more and you find yourself curling up in bed at the end of a 5 minute day. There's no magic spell to slow down the rush of life, but you can choose to do more with your time. It's so easy to snuggle up on the couch and while away an entire Saturday watching Breaking Bad, but at the end of that day I always feel empty and wasteful. As if I have been presented with a magnificent banquet, but only ate a few bites before throwing the rest of the succulent food away. What a waste.

I feel as though I'm just letting time slip through my fingers instead of grabbing hold of it like a set of reins and driving myself through the ride of a lifetime. So I asked myself quite recently why I wasn't doing more with my life, what I wanted to be doing, and how I would accomplish doing those things. To my surprise I realized that a lot of activities I wanted to do were simple things like going outside more, swimming at least once a week, going to a concert, going to a party, going to a museum. Very simple, very achievable things! So why wasn't I getting off my lazy butt to do them? Because I wasn't used to saying yes!

My friends text me all the time to hang out or go out, but I usually found an excuse to blow them off. Not in a malicious way, but I always reasoned that I should spend more time with my boyfriend or that I didn't want to waste gas. Now, I'm much more cognizant of when I say no to opportunities and I'm trying my utmost to change my answer to yes. I'm not advising you to say yes to everything, but find less reasons to say no. Make more of an effort to take advantage of the opportunities given to you and you may be pleasantly surprised.

I do not advocate saying yes to drugs; I do not advocate saying yes to hanging out with people you know are bad influences; I do not advocate doing anything illegal. In short, don't be stupid. Just recognize that life is precious, but limited. No one wants to reach the end and regret the beginning. The more you say yes, the more you will discover different interests, cultures, talents, etc. Maybe you'll even discover yourself.

My challenge to you is to pause when you are presented with an opportunity that you could easily say no to. Ask yourself if you think it could possibly be a positive influence in your life. If there is even the remotest chance that it could be, then say yes!

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Tue, 18 Mar 2014 02:28:01 +0000 http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/say-yes-challenge2
Words Are Powerful Challenge http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/words-are-powerful-challenge I have great legs. It's a fact. No matter how much weight I gain or lose they will always be phenomenal. All throughout high school I fussed over my waist-line, my hips, my feet, everything!...Except my legs.

The truth is they probably aren't the best looking in the world, but the secret is I believe they are. No I can't tell you how to stop your body-criticism, but I can tell you that words have power. I was at a pool party in the 6th grade when the mother of the birthday girl pulled me aside. She handed me a piece of pizza and one of the most enduring compliments I've received to date: "Liliana, you have some great legs!" It wasn't anything over the top and she didn't keep me from scuttling back to the pool, but for some reason I chose to hang on to her words.

Later that year we had our winter social - which usually would have terrified me because I was a die-hard tomboy with a no-dress-policy - but I looked at myself in the mirror and thought "I do have great legs". After that, I strutted around in my little party dress and had the best night possible. And every dance, party, date, etc since, I've always found confidence in myself because even if everything went wrong at least I still had great legs.

That mother probably doesn't even remember me, let alone the comment she made. However, her words affected my self-image in the best way possible and I'm thankful for her taking me aside to tell me what she did. It's the simplest, little things that can truly resonate with someone. You may not realize it but words hold immense power. The words themselves, not the person speaking them. It wouldn't have mattered if the woman was a complete stranger, I still would have nurtured the delusion that I was a knock-out.

So I challenge you to find a way to give someone a simple but sincere compliment. It may seem like an insignificant thing, but you never know how your words will touch someone. And with that, remember that negative words can be just as powerful, but in a detrimental way.

Be kind, be genuine, be powerful.

By the way, you look sensational today! Truly sensational :)

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Sun, 16 Mar 2014 03:51:51 +0000 http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/words-are-powerful-challenge
Art Kicks Ass! http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/art-kicks-ass Why is real estate in the world of math and science appraised at a higher value than in the world of art?

Whenever I tell someone I'm pursuing a degree in Radio, Television and Film and plan to become a big shot director I get the same reaction: a sharp little intake of breath, sad pitiful eyes, and the question "ooh honey is that something you'll really be able to support yourself with?". Or worse, the flat out statement "that's not a real career."

This reaction isn't confined to the realm of film. No! It's seemingly the universal reaction given to anyone wishing to become an artist! But why is that? Why can't art be given the credit it deserves? There seems to be a stigma that engineering is more difficult than painting. Yes I will admit engineering takes brains, logic, ingenuity, and you have to fight the numbers. But with painting you have to grasp an idea, tame it, nurture it, try to capture it on your easel and then - after all that - grapple with yourself and the inner voice that barks ceaselessly. The voice telling you it's not good, there's no use, you're a failure. Inner strife is the toughest part of any creative endeavor. It takes courage to overcome. There's no courage in science, there's only reassurance that there's an answer waiting at the end of your efforts. An answer that will give you a definite yes or no, black or white. There is room for failure, but there is little room for the gray area of self-doubt.

Science may have made life easier to endure and understand, but art is what makes life worth living. Science rarely moves anyone. It moves people physically from place to place at greater velocities, but it takes something astronomical to touch people. Art on the other hand sweeps people off their feet, sends them reeling, makes them think. The simplest, smallest piece of art can inspire a generation. It doesn't have to be masterfully crafted, but it has to be poignant.

And people know this! They attest to it every day! They marvel at science and fall in love with art. But then they go behind this lover's back and say it isn't a noble pursuit. They say it isn't worthwhile. They say money and stability are logical and therefore more valuable than passion.

Science is amazing. Please do not think I am not grateful for it. But please also do not continue tearing into the aspirations of those who see the true value in art. Without art, science may not exist because human kind would have lost the desire to continue making the world a better place.

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Fri, 14 Mar 2014 03:38:35 +0000 http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/art-kicks-ass
Clinging to the Wreckage - Waiting for Goodbye http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/clinging-to-the-wreckage-waiting-for-goodbye It's unsettling watching a sinking ship from the shoreline. You feel a sense of morning for the people aboard, but the emotion is detached and distant from your heart. It doesn't consume you or weigh heavily, it just clings.

A friend of mine recently found herself on a sinking ship. A sinking relation-ship. And I watched from a distance as she clutched at the floating shards of hope.

Let's call her Catherine and him Jamie.

Catherine's boyfriend moved halfway across the country last autumn, but their relationship was precious enough to be tested in the dark waters of long distance. They had been inseparable before his departure and seemed to be the epitome of the perfect relationship: always clinging to each other, always smiling, always sharing tender looks of endearment. Hidden beneath these outward displays of affection was a stagnant relationship full of tension and broken communication. None of us had any idea.

The first few weeks boded well for the two of them. Catherine was filled with hope and gushed to me that the distance might be the best thing for them. She claimed she could focus on her final year of school and really hone in on herself and her future while he started his. They talked every night and texted every day, but - like it always does - the honeymoon phase came to a screeching halt. He "got really busy" with work and "couldn't manage" to send her a quick text until he went to bed at 4 AM, by which time she was asleep and couldn't reply until the morning. Their relationship wasn't just in limbo; it was non-existent.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and my friends and I began receiving odd texts from Jamie. He wanted to know how to break up with Catherine, but begged us to keep it a secret until he "figured everything out." Even though we kept our promise to Jamie, Catherine sensed something was amiss and began to hover in a constant state of unease, waiting for goodbye.

He came home at Thanksgiving and somehow managed to assure her that everything was as it had been and that they were stronger than ever. This satisfied her qualms, but as concerned friends, the rest of us weren't so sure. We watched her carefully after he left again and noticed that, like before, she slipped into a lackluster version of herself. Whenever she talked about Jamie it was to say he hadn't called, hadn't found the time. Again they had lost their relationship, but wouldn't admit it.

Months later and she began saying things like "I know we have to break up someday, it's just not the right time." It's just not the right time...We tried to make her see that it would never be the right time. There would never be a perfect day to end it all. She said it didn't feel right. We said it never really did. She said she wanted to let him do it. We said to just get it over with. She said she knew she cared more for him than he did for her, but that couldn't be a reason to say goodbye. We said that was reason enough.

The back and forth continued for hours on end and at each turn she pushed the thought of a breakup away. She couldn't bear to think of it and therefore refused to. Their love was hollow, but she chose to cling to the shell.

There was nothing I could do or say to convince her to let go so I just watched from afar as her relation-shipwreck drifted farther and farther apart on a wide ocean of silence. I realized that it was easier for her to clutch at the wreckage instead of letting go and becoming submerged in loneliness. She was afraid to sink because she feared there would be no one else to rescue her.

Barely staying afloat and waiting for the looming storm to overwhelm her would not stop the heartbreak, but she would be able to breath for a few hours more.

That's when I realized that their relationship had never lost anything. It had only ever been a shell. They had always been happy because they had never fought. They had never fought because they never wanted to hurt or be hurt. They had never hurt, but they had never loved.

They had never trusted and just swum like maniacs for the horizon and whatever lay beyond.

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Tue, 11 Mar 2014 00:30:10 +0000 http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/clinging-to-the-wreckage-waiting-for-goodbye
Love is the Cancer. Love is the Cure. http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/love-is-the-cancer-love-is-the-cure Love is the cancer and love is the cure.

Love is the cancer.

It gnaws at your insides and twists at your heart.

It makes you forget yourself and leaves you in the dark.

Your mind consumed.

Your body imbued.

Love is the cure.

It lifts you above the pains in store.

It sucks out the bitterness, the misery galore.

It wraps you...

It holds you...

You believe there is nothing you cannot endure.

Love is the cancer, love is the cure.

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Mon, 10 Mar 2014 06:51:45 +0000 http://sett.com/pluckingsunrays/love-is-the-cancer-love-is-the-cure