Monday, December 31, 2012
I hate you in many ways, but am nonetheless thankful for the changes you've delivered. You brought me loss in ways I never knew before, you ushered in loneliness, you taught me bravery. You made me exceedingly uncomfortable, but made me grow. You made me face boredom to see how I'd respond, and made me confront some of the innermost caves of my being. When I stood appalled, you gave me time to learn and respond. You showed me vast ups and downs, and extraordinary companionship when it mattered most.
We've had an interesting run, but I'm so grateful for the distance I've come since you arrived 364 days ago. With that I say good ridens! ..and tell your sister 2013 to be a bit gentler please :)
In this way, respecting the power of words demands great discernment and deliberation when speaking. It's as though all the language at my disposal is labeled with a "CAUTION! HANDLE WITH CARE!" sign.
But on the other hand-
Words are meaningless! What are words but the mere descriptors of thoughts and events? Words alone do not make life happen, they just describe it. I'm sure we've all heard a zillion quotes or proverbs about the value of action over words.... "walk the walk, don't just talk the talk," right?
I wonder all the time about how to hold these opposing perspectives simultaneously; how can they be so insignificant, and so supremely significant all at once? How do I treat words with such care and grace, while remembering their relative hollowness? I know there's some truth to both perspectives, but I just wonder about this often..
who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace,
who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience,
He or she who shuns passion,
who prefers black on white,
dotting ones "it’s" rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer,
that turn a yawn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings,
He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,
who is unhappy at work,
who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,
to thus follow a dream,
those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,
He who does not travel, who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself,
He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,
who does not allow himself to be helped,
who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops,
He or she who abandon a project before starting it, who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn't know, he or she who don't reply when they are asked something they do know,
Let's try and avoid death in small doses,
reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.
Only a burning patience will lead
to the attainment of a splendid happiness.
Please don't let greatness make you feel small. When others produce stunning works of truth through their medium of choice, rather than feeling useless and talent-less, let it saturate you with encouragement that there is always something new to be created, and some new way to give voice to what matters.
"..no man who bothers about originality will ever be original; whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it." -C.S. Lewis
Just because somebody did or made something great does not mean that the world has finished, all creativity has dried up, and there's nothing left for you to do. If you don't feel you have something entirely novel to bring to the table, it's alright. Speak up for what you believe, with your words or your art or your behavior or whatever, even if it seems ordinary; if it's truth to you, then it's worth being represented. It is worth it. Say what you mean and back it with action, and without regard for how much 'better' you think others may have said it before, because ultimately- truth trumps novelty.
When I think of giving voice to something I think of advocating for those that cannot speak on their own behalf.. like children. I think that our beliefs and passions need advocacy too though. They do not speak for themselves, we must give them voice.. giving physical presence to what is intangible weights them with relevance and visibility in the real world. Our beliefs must be spoken for, or they live sadly mute inside our minds and hearts.
When others are able to take what is inside of them and make it known, make it real! when someone makes a work of art that they can stand by proudly and declare it's the truth as they know it, be thankful that people are out there producing and pressing forward. That people are pursuing what matters to them is not meant to drive you further into your bed, hiding from your own talent. Do not retreat at the gifts and talents of others, but be emboldened to use your own.
Because until the Good Lord says we're through here, there is always more to be done, more to seek, more to learn, and more to tell.. so uplift your neighbors in what they do well, pull yourself together, roll up your own sleeves and get working.
Discipline and continual productivity is what builds your voice and your ability to deliver good ideas and stories in a compelling way. I think of discipline as a preventative medicine. It keeps you fresh, and ensures you'll be present and prepared when that brilliance decides to pay a visit.. but if you neglect your medicine, you begin to lose your voice, little by little. It's not necessarily irretrievable, but perhaps more like the bronchitis of the art of writing. Trying to form sentences slows to a hacking cough.. spitting up fragmented bits, it feels forced, uncomfortable, leaves a sour taste in your mouth. I used to speak through the written word so fluidly, but now it's feeling hoarse and scattered..
Ideas stack up in my mind and, without giving them proper release, they become trapped pressure and my head begins to swell. Now I've got bronchitis of writing and a sinus infection of ideas. Fantastic.
I wish there was a magic pill to cure what ails my stuffed up, congested writing, but it turns out the only way to reverse the condition is to sit down and commit to the process, over and over again. Because to regain your voice as a writer, you simply need to use it more often..
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Without having come to any conclusions, I became much more attuned to the value of the body, and the profound relationship I ought to have with it. The body is not just a limiting container we've been forced to occupy, it is the very medium of self-expression, the means of showing others who we are, visibly reinforcing or refuting our spoken claims about ourselves.
As our bodies carry us through every lived moment, we too carry the body- proudly, shamefully, aggressively, meekly... we are given these shells and then elect to wrap, shape, color, and manipulate them in myriad ways. How we perceive ourselves influences how we care for and represent ourselves, and what contexts we place ourselves in, but the reverse is also true; what we do with and to our bodies impacts our self-perception.
I have a tendency to view my body as an opponent. It looks different than I wish, and we are often at odds because of this. But the older I get, and the more in tune I become with this physical shell I'm bound to for better or for worse, the more I understand what a sacred space it really is. The body is a home, and amidst all the changing cities and houses I pass through, this is the constant home I travel in. And though I still struggle to accept all aspects and limitations of my physical self, I'm trying daily to acknowledge the extraordinary abilities of the human body and to be thankful for the function it affords me. Though it binds us and limits us, the body also gives life to what is inside and unseen.. and for this, we ought to respond with deep respect and care.
J. Sarano says it beautifully in his piece "The Meaning, or Dimension, of the Body"...
Monday, September 17, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
In the cleansing process of simplification- whether it be in our homes, our clothes, our minds or our obligations- At what point are we ridding ourselves of the details that actually color our world? When does simplification move from being a healthy reduction of clutter, to the stripping of expression?
Monday, April 30, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
If you have made a decision that requires separation from stability and certainty, and you find yourself second-guessing, or doubting whether you chose rightly, be reminded- this is the brave world, not the safe world, that you have chosen. This is what it feels like to pursue movement and truth.
May I take you back to the time when things were safe and comfortable? Go back in your mind to when you were in the midst of something that needed to be changed, but had yet to budge. Maybe it was a wretched job, or a relationship that had lost its guts, became vacant and fruitless. Then an awareness developed in you, whether gradually or almost instantaneously, that where you were at was wrong, and you needed to move on. Maybe it wasn’t blatantly wrong, but had just lost its rightness. Either way, you knew things needed to change, but you didn’t yet want to face the dramatic consequences of such a shift. You didn’t feel prepared to undergo the physical and emotional adjustments necessary, so you waited. Maybe you even did what I have done, and what many humans are wired to do, and you tried to rationalize why you were fine and why things didn’t need to change.... why the job was satisfactory, or practical, or why the relationship wasn’t really that bad. Maybe you tried to return to ignorant bliss, but I’d wager that you quickly realized ignorance is not something that one can return to. It is quite literally impossible. And so you returned once again to the internal tension of knowing things were actually not ok.
Think hard about that precise place you resided for awhile- knowing you needed change yet unwilling to initiate it for fear of the resulting discomfort. If you are or were anything like me, that feeling was so much worse than anything felt in the aftermath of change. Don’t get me wrong, change incites some gnarly emotions, particularly relational change, but those feelings are at the very least productive.. they reflect a progressive existence. But the pit-of-your-stomach feeling of knowing you need to move on from something unhealthy, and yet not doing anything about it, knowingly living in wrongness, is exponentially worse. Worse because it perpetuates stagnancy. It is a conscious decision to live backwards, to ignore your internal discoveries and the associated call for growth.
So if you feel insecure or aimless or empty in this time of transition you’ve opted for, remember the inadequacy of that former time. Remember that pit-of-your-stomach feeling, and hold your head high because you found that kind of mediocrity to be intolerable.
You chose the right and powerful thing to do, and whether easy or hard, you are better for it and will continue to be so.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating..... and you finish off as an orgasm.”
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Joey: Look Rach, wasn't this supposed to a temporary thing? I thought you wanted to do fashion stuff?
Rachel: Well, yeah! I'm still pursuing that.
Chandler: How... exactly are you pursuing that? Ya know, other than sending out resumes like, what, two years ago?
Rachel: Well, I'm also sending out.... good thoughts.
Joey: If you ask me, as long as you got this job, you've got nothing pushing you to get another one. You need the fear.
Rachel: The fear?
Chandler: He's right, if you quit this job, you then have motivation to go after a job you really want.
Rachel: Well then how come you're still at a job that you hate, I mean why don't you quit and get "the fear?"
(Chandler and Joey both start laughing)
Chandler: Because, I'm too afraid