Monday, March 19, 2012

DISCLAIMER: If you prefer stability and ease over growth, then this has nothing to do with you.

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 brilliant and hilarious George Carlin:

“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.”

No matter how humble or selfless we can try to be, we still exist wholly and exclusively within our own shell, and perceive the world accordingly. And so it follows that we often find ourselves frustrated or stressed over difficulties, and respond with a seemingly proportionate amount of energy. It isn't our fault, as we're only capable of forming responses in the context of our own experience and knowledge. But this is what perspective is for- though we cannot actually see from another's eyes or understand what life feels like from their vantage point, we can, at best, continuously remind ourselves that contexts exist outside of our own.

The other day, I heard someone liken the human lifespan to the small act of placing a single bolt into the golden gate bridge during its construction. An entire life, reduced to a singular act within a massive process, nearly undetectable at the finish, yet still essential. I kept thinking about that analogy and couldn't figure out how to feel about it..

In some way it might feel belittling- the realization that all your days and breaths and thoughts, when rolled up and finished off, amount to nothing more than a nearly-invisible contribution, a minute blip on a broad screen. But by the same token, there is encouragement to be found in that image. To highlight the analogy's point let's imagine we are born, we put a bolt in the bridge, and we die. Sorry to be curt, this is not meant to diminish any individual's significance or worth, but the truth is that our lives are finite, singular pieces of an expansive saga. Remembering this simple fact puts into perspective the weight, or rather the lack thereof, of most momentary and circumstantial woes, and I'm pretty sure that a failure to do so will inevitably result in constant concern for things that are universally and eternally meaningless.