15 December 2011

Most days, no.


Sometimes it would be nice if I had a legitimate reason to complain. Oh yes, I complain. I complain about the toaster, gas prices, the tooth-paste, book-bindings, dishes, airbags, and water-heaters. It takes but a small step back to see that the big picture is shouting out that I am blessed beyond measure. Too bad they don’t make glasses to fix my nearsighted self-centered worldview. Surrounded by affluence in the one of the richest countries within the richest time in existence, still complain. I’ve never gone a day without food, never been arrested wrongly, or held at gun-point. My family is a great family. I have more than I need. If my everything that I owned in life was its own living thing, it would be fat. It would simply crush all my dissatisfaction with its mass. But there is no really large blob-of-my-belongings to knock sense into me.
It is so easy to find the chink in the wall, stick my nose inches from it and then let it eat away at me. It’s easy to fade the rest of the world out and focus on the single imperfection. It’s like some of these fashion-models that think they need to lose weight to be good enough, when in reality they are beautiful. And, if they weren’t completely skinny they would still be fantastic—personality is frankly what is important, I don’t think any couple has remained married for fifty years because they both had hot bodies. And being beautiful certainly does not mean happiness. But I’m going off topic, the point is it seems to be human nature to find an imperfection and then bitterly fixate on it until it consumes all the good that is screaming for recognition. People speculate whether there is more or less evil in the world than there was in the past. But what about the good? Why don't we ask is there more or less good in the world. Now, I’m not a look-at-the-glass half-full kinda guy, and I’m not advocating that perspective. I’m a realist. The glass is half full of water it is half full of air. It is also half empty of water, and half empty of air.
My point is thankfulness is something we have in spite of not having everything. We will never have everything, we shouldn’t even want that—think about everyone else for crying out loud—what would they have? We should simply realize that right now, there are people in other countries who are being parasitized by worms, sweating in small mud and stick huts with malaria, there are small children who will never know what hindsight looks like. There are parents who watch their children die in their arms of starvation--helplessly. There are those who are oppressed by tyrannical rulers. There are those who watch warlords murder their family—there are children who are blindfolded and forced to murder their own family and then to become hyper-expendable solders. There are some who eat dirt because it has some nutrients in it. Just some.
I get upset when someone waists a few minutes of my time, when I don’t get exactly what I want. A few unkind words and my day is ruined. I have days. I have food. I have a future. I have life. Still, I am unthankful. I have health. I have hope. I have a family. I foolishly take it for grated. I have the ability to help. I have surplus. I have time to change.
Is reality a strong enough motivator to persuade me that I have it good? Most days, no. I wish I was completely alone on this one. I wish I was the only person as unthankful as myself. But I'm not. Most people are in the same or worse state of mind as me. Even worse, unfortunately I am not generally unthankful.

06 November 2011

Get Lost

Life was never intended to be a walkabout in which we find ways to best indulge ourselves. Living unto our own needs and wants is sentencing a human feature that should define us to perish while out on center-stage abandoned by all thought of others we stand performing a script written by and for ourselves. The word humanity communicates more than one meaning. One meaning is kindness towards people, and the other meaning is simply a way of saying all humans, mankind. Being thoughtful towards others should be an integral part of who each of us is. Kindness is not a feature of the human race, it should be a defining concept of the human race. Human and kindness are synonymous in meaning, and they should be also in practice. Outstanding people, those who are very kind to other humans, are awarded accolades for being humanitarians, for trying to help others. We value our association with being kind, compassionate and caring towards others yet so rarely do we actually live the lives of humanitarians.

To me, American society is not a humane place to live, much baser and animalistic. We are driven not by affections for each other, not by care or regard for one another, but on the contrary we are a society compelled by our own lusts to acquire, to conquer, or most important of all to idolized. Every driving force behind a majority of human behavior is derived straight from the desire to increase “self.” We look not for opportunities to help others, but rather for opportunities to help ourselves.

The single universal explanation for all our self-centered endeavors is a simple concept – happiness. Happiness is the elusive breath which we need to live, yet like the air we breathe, we cannot see it or grasp. Yet just like air, it is vital. We try most every way imaginable to create happiness, but all such attempts to create the feeling do not make happiness, at best a mirage or delusion. Happiness, it is no secret, cannot be bought or found by seeking it. Happiness is almost always a fleeting fragile moment somewhere in the future or in the past. Happiness is always a few steps away because we try to grab it. Happiness in many ways is like trying to capture a sunset in a painting. Even if the colors are spot on with the sunset, even if all the shapes are right, the best painting never does justice to the real thing. It lacks the smells that rest on the gentle breeze that tugs at your hair, it is missing the warm feel of the delicate fading rays of sunshine, it lacks the momentary changing nature of life. Hold the best painting up to the real thing, and the painting has no soul in contrast to a sky burning with the falling, fading rays of a summer sun. 

Remember the times in your life when you were profoundly happy. Are your memories those of buying a new computer, winning a washer-machine at a raffle? Or are your times of happiness the times you laughed with friends and family over silly things until you cried, or perhaps you traveled from the smog smitten city out into clean country air and you saw the incomprehensibly vast night-sky with your best friend for the first time? Those times when you were happy, were you trying to be, were you thinking about yourself at the time, thinking about your job, your hair, your weight? I doubt it. 

Happiness, we find, not while trying to cultivate it, but in the very root of our identities, in the fact that we are humans, we are meant to serve each other – by being kind, compassionate, empathetic, by lifting up those who fall down. Have you ever brightened someone’s day, seen their face pass through winter and into spring. Hear them laugh, or see a pain in their eyes fall away due to something you did? Wasn’t it an amazing feeling? The most certain way to find enjoyment in life is to quit trying to find it for yourself, and try to help others find it. Stop trying to create an emotion, and start building up people. Conquering the world is no great thing. Cultivating compassion and love within a world where people are so often separated from happiness is a great thing. If you want to be happy, lose yourself in the service of others.

Lost in Falling


At a place where the earth and water wrestle with each other. Where wind kisses bare skin, and dries small droplets of water glistening in the sun. At a time when tall tufts of gentle white clouds migrated across the piercing deep blue sky. While seagulls chattered, and dry blades of grass rustled like the ruffling of clothing in a still room. 

As our eyes met, it was not meeting the eyes of a stranger, or even of a friend. It was bigger and stronger than that. It was like seeing every single wish, every dream, every joy, and every moment of happiness I had ever dared imagine could be, it was me meeting forever, it was realizing that forever was real.

The past and the future faded like shadows into the night leaving the two of us standing alone together like actors on stage but it was no act, it was real. Every worry and care evaporated like early morning mist. Everything that had been or would have been collided in a single moment and changed the way we would remember the past and the way we would live our futures. We both fell into something much bigger and stronger than over-the-counter love-at-first-sight. We fell into forever, an ocean of forever. The love had always been there but incomplete, a heart without a beat, or a breath without air to breathe. It was as though we had always loved each other; and over all of the years, up to the moment, it had been building and growing.

It was as much a knowing as a feeling, as much a feeling as a knowing, and both a feeling and a knowing too powerful to embrace, like a child trying to hug the sky or the sun that drifts above. We know the sun is there, but we cannot look at it, it is cloaked in an eternal luminescence too powerful to look at and a size beyond imagination. But we can feel its warmth on our skin even on the coldest winter day, we can see springtime uncoil like popcorn when its rays begin to dance for a few more hours above the horizon. The love in that moment was strong and bold and eternal, I could sense it sweeping me up within it, a wave powerful and unstoppable, more than everything had ever hoped it could be. No word can be said against such unfathomable love. No heart can escape from forever.

28 October 2011

Are You Unhappy?


Life was never intended to be a walkabout in which we find ways to best indulge ourselves. Living unto our own needs and wants is sentencing a human feature that should define us to perish while out on center-stage abandoned by all thought of others we stand performing a script by and for ourselves. The word humanity means both kindness towards people and mankind. Being thoughtful towards others should be an integral part of who each of us is. Kindness is not a feature of the human race, it should be the defining concept of the human race -- its very breath. Human and kindness are synonymous in meaning, and they should be also in practice. Outstanding people those who are very kind to other humans are given rewards for being humanitarians, for trying to help others. We value our association with being kind that is compassionate and caring towards others yet so rarely do we actually live the lives of humanitarians. 

To me, American society is not a humane place to live. We are driven not by affections for each other, not by care or regard for one another, but on the contrary we are a society compelled by our own lusts to acquire, to conquer, or most important of all to idolized. Every driving force behind a majority of human behavior is derived straight from the desire to increase “self.” We look not for opportunities to help others, but rather for opportunities to help ourselves.

The single universal explanation for all our self-centered endeavors is a simple concept – happiness. Happiness is the elusive breath which we need to live, yet like the air we breathe, we cannot see it or grasp yet just like air, it is vital. We try most every way imaginable to create happiness, but all such attempts to create the feeling do not make happiness, at best a mirage or delusion. Happiness, it is no secret, cannot be bought or found by seeking it. Happiness is almost always a fleeting fragile moment somewhere in the future or in the past. Happiness is always a few steps away because we try to grab it. Happiness in many ways is like trying to capture a sunset in a painting. Even if the colors are spot on with the sunset, even if all the shapes are right, the best painting never does justice to the real thing. It lacks the smells that rest on the gentle breeze that tugs at your hair, it is missing the warm feel of the delicate fading rays of sunshine, it lacks the momentary changing nature of life. Hold the best painting up to the real thing, and the painting has no soul in contrast to a sky burning with the falling, fading rays of a summer sun. Remember the times in your life when you were profoundly happy. Are your memories those of buying a new computer, winning a washer-machine at a raffle, or are your times of happiness the times you laughed with friends and family over silly things until you cried, or perhaps you traveled from the smog smitten city out into clean country air and you saw the incomprehensibly vast night-sky with your best friend for the first time? Those times when you were happy, were you trying to be, were you thinking about yourself at the time, thinking about your job, your hair, your weight? I doubt it. 

Happiness, we find, not while trying to cultivate it, but in the very root of our identities, in the fact that we are humans, we are meant to serve each other – by being kind, compassionate, empathetic, and lifting up those who fall down. Have you ever brightened someone’s day, seen their face pass through winter and into spring. Hear them laugh, or see a pain in their eyes fall away? The most certain way to find enjoyment in life is to quit trying to find it for yourself, and try to help others find it. Stop trying to create an emotion, and start building up people. Conquering the world is no great thing, cultivating compassion, and love within a world where people are so often separated from happiness by the distance they should be carried by the kindness and love of others. If you want to be happy, lose yourself in the service of others.

08 October 2011

A Single Moment of Peace


The wind quietly ushered in the night as the sun lay down to rest its hot temper in the quiet of sleep. The trees’ leaves brushed lowly like the feet of a polite audience. A reluctant moon muttered about work while swaying back and forth with sleep still in eyes, but overcoming the mountain of fatigue at last resumed its place at the peak of the night sky. The stars followed order; slowly they filled the stadium of sky, blinking quickly like excited children at an awe-strikingly amusing show. Earth sat quietly enjoying the peaceful calm, a serenade of night creatures placidly droned a soothing background whir that sounded on ear-strings like a soothing note. The damp night air wrapped around, pouring out its coolness like a gentle mountain waterfall—clean and pure. The smell of fresh air was strong enough to be tasted and drowned out the remainder of discontent. For a moment, the moment was accounted sufficient and contentment sighed out a long restrained breath and inhaled a deep breath of satisfaction—Peace.

30 September 2011

Love Lends its Hands

It surprises me how often people shout "love is the answer" while their hands are on someone's throat. People who value the value of love often hate it when someone does not always measure up to their standard of love. So what do they do to fix the problem? Through love right? No! Usually self-appointed masters-of-all-that-is-loving take aggressive measures to kill whatever they see that is not loving. Using strong, loud words, aggressive hand-gestures, or provocative writing, self-appointed love-worriers often choose to sleigh anything that is not perfect love rather than bring it into love. Yes, the motives are right, but motives are, as it turns out, a poor substitute for doing the right thing. It comes down to doing the right thing verses wanting to do the right thing.
 So the problem is, not everyone is clear what love is. It is not necessarily their fault. It is difficult to think and do things that are foreign or even unknown. Well, that is a problem that can be fixed.

Love is not pointing at people, and correcting them harshly. Love is not arrogant, and love is certainly not knocking the wrong out of someone, (even though I sometimes want to). On the contrary, love is a gentile, respectful, considerate, and always a sincere effort to help someone. Masquerading in a costume of love and punishing people who need help does not help anyone. It makes love look bad. Despite what we may infer from cupid shooting people with arrows who need to find love, his tactic is frankly not the best example. Being unloving while waving the love banner shouts not that love is the pinnacle of perfection of human hope, but instead condemns love. Why would anyone wish to be loving when it hurts so much when people are "loving" to them.

If love is truly the goal, than it means going even beyond knowing what love is, it means taking action on that knowing. It means being loving when the sake of your dignity beckons revenge or war. If you happen to have a Star Trek phasser, it may mean setting it to stun or even better turning it off. Love does not need defending, it needs living, it needs breathing. Love is not a sparkly clean perfect place where everything is the way it was intended. Love is everything that it takes to bring people to that perfect place. Love is the bridge that we need to build to get to where we should be.  Love is a pair of work-pants. It's putting on muck-boots and trekking through a swamp to find people who need help. Love is not a level of knowledge or understanding. Love is getting down on your hands and knees in the dirt with people who need help and teaching them in the kindest way possible how to stand up and leave it all behind. Love is helping people up, not bending down so you can see the pain on their face when you rub their nose in the mess that is their life.

Love is not pointing fingers, it's lending hands. If you are one of those people who try to hate the love out of people. I hope that this note is a hand held out to you to help you stand up out of the mud. I want to encourage you to stand a little taller, by stooping down a little lower to help those who are even lower. I'm not saying that I have everything figured out. I don't. I'm not perfect either. And I am not writing because I want to make you guilty. Your guilt is irrelevant to me. We are guilty in some way for something, only love can forget that guilt. But you are not irrelevant to me, and what you do is not irrelevant to those who need help, who need love. We all need love, but the only way we will ever get that love is if we start giving it.

Heart. Ache.


Your love is the blood my broken heart bleeds
Your love is the falling tears on my shirt sleeves

Your love is the medicine my broken heart needs
Your love is the lie that I still foolishly believe

You left me love-torn standing alone in the street,
Listening to sound of my broken heart beat

Had I known how much it hurt to walk in these shoes
I would have done things different, it’s you I’d choose

I know it’s true, but I still can’t believe your gone
and no matter what, I still can’t figure out how to move on

My friends tell me time heals all things, be strong
But I’m no better, and I wonder if maybe they’re wrong

I sit at home for you waiting silently all alone
I long to hear your voice coming through my phone

When I go out at night I still hope we will meet
When I go out with my friends, I still save you a seat

You were more than I ever knew life could be
I didn’t know it until my tears made it plane to see

Like a spotlight, mistakes shine brightly in my past
Where love lost, there will be pain that will ever last

I can’t undo love, and I can’t fix hurt in hindsight
I can only ask forgiveness, and try make things right\

Sociable

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