Friday, December 31, 2010

Age before beauty

I used to disbelief my parents when they would tell me as a child, "you'll understand when you're older." But, I am beginning to think, they were right-well, mostly. As I near my mid-twenties, my perspectives are changing, my opinions altering, even solidifying-weird. My parents don't seem quite as crazy as they did, in fact I think they're pretty damn cool. When did that happen? I find spending an evening at home with them enjoying a good meal and quality conversation has become a joy and not an obligation. Crazy. It's amazing what perspective can do, or simply growing up a little bit...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Observations on children part I

Children are fascinating. They are the most exposed and uncensored versions of our adult selves. If we look to them we shall see our most basic wants, desires, sins and shortcomings manifested. The only difference between an adult and a child is a mask. An adult has had years and years to build this mask thick and deceiving. It covers all our unwanted discrepancies and incongruities. Children are defiant and willful—so are adults, amazingly so—yet, we have learned to clothe said defiance in the adult garb of “determination” and “confrontation.” It's amazing, almost embarrassing to understand that adults are really just large children playing dress-up and wearing big, ugly masks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The ornery child I

The irony of seeking and suckling inspiration is that it rarely comes when sought. It's like an ornery child—refusing to come when you call it, and then appearing defiantly when you're not prepared. It catches you with your pants down as you ponder the meaning of toilet seat covers, or takes you unawares as you're driving home in rush-hour traffic, ruminating about the absurdity of human existence. It never cooperates or plays fair. It always finds you without pen or paper handy and just one stroke shy of genius, thus leaving you in howling misery, bemoaning the loss of what might have been brilliance. So, lay back, relax and let inspiration come to you. As they say, good things come to those who wait. Do not push or prod it, less it become irate and run away all together, but patiently wait for it to grow and mature, like the ornery child who just wants to come when they damn well feel like it, and not a moment sooner.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The real. the ideal. and...

I have always prided myself on being an idealist. However, the daily realities of life are beginning to suffocate and swallow whole much of my former idealisms. It's a bit discouraging, if I'm honest. Life, at least presently, is nothing I expected and everything I feared. Life just feels hard. And sadly, it's nowhere close to as hard as it could be, or as hard as it's going to get. Life also feels "realer" than it ever has, whatever than means. And I'm not sure I like real. I think I prefer ideal.

I'm wondering if this is just a season of life, or if this is "the" season of life. In that, this is simply it. Do I need to prepare for perpetual discouragement, at least from my formally idealistic standpoint, or rather do I adjust my overall paradigm of life. I think it's the latter.

Is the ideal over, or was it ever really the ideal? Have I simply been living in an illusion and have now entered into the "real world." Or have I always lived in the real world, but have just lived in a very different version than I do now? Not sure.

Life is also more "adult" now. It's responsibility. Responsibilities change everything. In many senses, I suppose I did live a bit of a "charmed existence." And for all intents and purposes, I still do, it's just a lot realer now. Maybe real is good.

I'm not sure I like adulthood, or "real life" very much But, I suppose there's no going back, is there? I can do nothing but move forward. Life doesn't work in reverse. But, I'm still not sure how I feel about completely abandoning my idealisms. I don't think I can ever fully escape them, they're part of who I am, but now it's how I meld the reality of the "real" with my former notions of the ideal. Although more importantly, it's how I become comfortable with that melding. Because it's both-the real and the ideal.

But, really, it's not about either the real or the ideal, is it? It's about something so much more basic and fundamental. It's about contentment. Truly.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Surrender and irony

"Life is seldom what you plan" -Jon Forman. It's ironic, isn't it? Life. Life is a series of unplanned and unlooked for events. And sometimes those events are painful and unpleasant. Such things cause you think, "I didn't ask for this?"

Its in those moments, when you're standing in the middle of your street, in the rain, screaming up at the great cosmos asking, "Why God?" that you really have to ask yourself, "Am I going to let the unplanned and unlooked, and often painful realities of my life-the whole 'life is seldom what you plan' thing-crush me under its great weight?" Or you can think of it not as simply being crushed, in the sense that you are resisting, but rather as simply allowing yourself to be crushed, in the sense of surrender.

We can fight all day long against the unrelenting realities of life, or we can choose to embrace them and surrender to the crushing weight, and maybe in it give up some of ourselves. Those who lose their life for My sake will find it...

Monday, August 2, 2010


I have always striven towards consistency in my life, pattern, rhythm, routine, sameness. I don't like change, never have. I think I find comfort in the sameness of things. The same meal at a restaurant, because I know it's going to taste good. The same Christmas traditions year after year, because I know or at least hope it will produce that same childish feeling that those same traditions evoked when I was a kid.

Change as always denoted a negative in my mind, always. And yet, logically I know this to be false. Change is the only constant in the universe, or I should say one of the only constants. Yet, I still cling to the consistency of a thing, and oftentimes for mere consistency's sake. The same routine in the shower: shampoo, rinse, condition, wash the body, wash the face, rinse the conditioner, and if we're feeling lucky, a shave. Always the same. I may do it this way till I die, if I'm still taking showers by that point...

Routines for me are like slipping into an old comfy, worn our T-shirt; they're comfortable. It's the known. The expected. Yet, there is a part of my brain that likes the unexpected, or perhaps more the idea of the unexpected. I think I far too often cling to notions rather than reality, herein lies a huge rub. I cannot break from my nature of consistency, except to hope for a life of inconsistency and am ultimately left dissatisfied. Silliness.

I can't always have my sameness, I must realize this. If I cling to it too tightly I'm afraid it will be ripped from me anyway--might as well let it go gently so as not to endure the ripping. It might be time to get rid of that comfy, old T-shirt. Gosh darn it, I really liked that shirt...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I love the high of inspiration. It's exhilarating. People. Ideas. People and their ideas. All inspire me. A good conversation, or a an idea from a good book can impel inspiration. But, sometimes I am so consumed by the high that my over-excited thoughts cannot make sense of themselves. I have to fight and wade through the plethora of notions and concepts swimming around in my brain, in order to extract some coherent strain. It's a joy when I can.

Conversations, at least the kind of conversations I often have, contain so many tangents. Hence, why I sometimes have difficulty making clear one solid idea. My friend Kristi uses a phrase often that I think applies to how I like drawing together my inspired thoughts into one concrete concept. She refers to it as "tying the bow." She gains satisfaction from circumstances coming full circle and being completed, or "tying the bow," if you will. I gain the same joy from joining ideas. I will wrestle with an inspired thought for some time before birthing it into words or coherent thought. But, it is very satisfying to bring to fruition an idea or concept. Inspiration is rot unless given some kind of coherent birth, then bow. Both are needed.

And sadly, I'm not honestly sure if this post has the coherent birth or bow that I was hoping for--ironic--but, birthed it needed to be, and bow it will perhaps have to wait upon. Goodnight.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The sacredness of the morning

There is something extremely sacred to me about the morning. I covet it. I revel in it. It quiets my soul before the chaos of a day begins. But, I have to chase it and catch it or else it eludes me and for the rest of the day I feel its absence. It's like a refuge, or a preparation. Without the morning a day feels a bit off . It's the beautiful alcove to every good day.

It's separate; it's unique; it's sacred. It's like the world is catching its breath. It's slow to wake and stretch, giving ample space for preparation. I thought this as I sat on my back porch this morning observing the world. There was no rush, no hurry to run into the world and its problems; everything was content to simply be . The mind feels free to range and explore, contemplate and contend with its own thoughts, but the whole beauty of the morning is this-freedom. I like freedom...


Life is constituted by repetition. We do everything again, and again. We wash ourselves, only to become dirty and then have to wash ourselves again. We eat, only to be hungry a few hours later. We wash dishes, yet only to find them dirty again. We repeat the same cycles repeatedly. The necessary repetitions of life are endless. It's madness. And monotony. Or is it?

Soloman comments upon the wearying repetitions of life in Ecclesiastes: "All things are full weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." We are doing and living and breathing all and everything that has ever been and all that ever will be. What does one do with such unbending relentless reality...?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Longing for the eternal

I am reading through Ecclesiastes. It's not the most up-lifting read, but it is truth. It turns ones mind to contemplate the unbelievably fleeting nature of the temporal. And it is causing my mind to realize in contrast the indelible and insatiable longing we all possess for the eternal. Soloman, the greatest king of Israel, who possessed all wisdom and knowledge, pursued all means of pleasure and toil, found it all to be utterly worthless. Madness. And folly.

We are never complete, never satisfied. We always desire more than we possess, and operate under the delusion that if we attain it, we will be happy. Happy. What does it mean? It is but a "striving after wind," says Soloman. Everything is nothing.

My heart feels heavy with the weight of this reality tonight. I am burdened by the eminent emptiness of the temporal and my ever-present longing for the eternal. I feel the fissure between these two warring worlds with great keenness. Is it not all futile? Life and its pursuits? My soul knowns not. Perhaps I should keep reading Ecclesiastes...

Saturday, March 27, 2010


It's amazing how light can alter things. I just put a new lamp in my room. It's in my newly created "reading corner," next to an old antique, avocado green chair. And it has changed completely the feel of my room. It's a dimmer light than the others in my room, soft I would say. It casts an older feeling than the rest, if that makes sense. It's amazing how the quantity or quality of light can alter a place. A brash bathroom light can make you look like death in the morning, vs. a dimmer, tamer bulb that says "I'm gorgeous." It's all in the lighting. But, this is superfluous. The point being light is crucial and can greatly alter our surroundings.

We all shed a kind of light with our lives. What is the nature of your light? Is it brash and abrasive? Is it dull and insignificant? Is it warm and reassuring? What is it? And what are we doing with it? Let us continue to allow the small, seemingly insignificant, facets of our world--such as light--to draw us to a greater awareness of self and purpose. There is ever so much to see...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Notions of self

What is the self? And can that even be accurately answered by the self? Problematic. We have all heard the phrase, the "self-made man" (or woman). What does that really mean? Is the self made? Are we then indeed self-created? And if so, how? Circular questioning. We do all seem to spend most of our lives creating and maintaining ourselves, or more accurately, an idea of ourselves. And herein lies the crux of the issue: Idea. Notion. We all have definite "ides" about who we are or who we wish to be; thus whether truly or theoretically, we all have notions of self. And we spend the entirety of our lives fostering this notion and projecting it to the world. It's exhausting; is it not? This continual maintenance of self? Let's be honest. Or maybe it's just me? But I am inclined to doubt. Whenever I assume myself somehow unique in a certain sentiment or emotion, the reality is that I am in fact joined by a crowd of many others who like to call themselves humanity. We all struggle with identity, with notions of self, in some regard. And I challenge anyone to argue me on this point. We strive and invent. We augment and decrease. Whatever is required to maintain "the self." But, who is the self? This is an interesting question. Ponder of all the people you think you know best. What if truly, you only know the "notions" of that person--the person they desire you to know--as opposed to the the true self? Whatever that means. It's a thought provoking question. Or just perhaps maddeningly circular. Who is the self? And will we ever know? Goodness, I am beginning to sound like Hume or Locke, depending on your perspective. A priori or tabula rasa? That's another tangent, for another time. Notions of self to be revisited...

Sunday, March 7, 2010


What does it mean to be uncomfortable? I would very generally assert that the answer differs greatly from a western perspective and thus cannot be answered with full accuracy from that paradigm. You may then ask on what grounds I make this assertion, myself being a westerner? Admittedly, I make this claim in partial ignorance, but in partial knowledge. First, I am not all westerners, so in that sense I cannot speak for those in the west who, I am confident, truly know what it means to be uncomfortable. However, I am still a westerner, a westerner who has lived most of her life remaining almost wholly untouched by this concept of being uncomfortable. I am slightly if not more than slightly ashamed of this truth. And I would assert that a much larger percentage of the western world resides in this category of being untouched by discomfort, by suffering. Let us now define our terms: "uncomfortable."

To be uncomfortable, for the sake of this conversation, will be defined as "being in a state of discomfort; uneasy; conscious of stress or strain." This is a very general definition and can minutely be applied to some of the grossly generalized daily ins and outs of western life--such as experiencing discomfort over a hang-nail, or uneasiness over a big exam, or the stress and strain caused by rush-hour traffic; however, I wish to apply the definition more largely to some of the greater discomforts throughout the world--such as experiencing the horrible discomfort caused by lack of food, or the uneasiness over whether or not your family farm will survive a drought, or the stress and strain that visits those who's very lives are threatened by their religious or political convictions. These are very different discomforts. These are discomforts that the average westerner knowns nothing about. These are discomforts that I know nothing about. And I am indeed more than slightly ashamed of this truth.

My goal in this discussion is not however to foster guilt, that is never beneficial, but rather to foster an outward perspective. If I am honest, I am indeed grateful to have lived in a world mostly untouched by the greater discomforts of life. Almost without fluctuation I remain and have remained within my notion of "uncomfortability," rarely forcing my eyes outward to the sufferings of the world around me. This is not acceptable. One, because we live in a world that encompasses far more than ourselves and our own problems. Two, because we are called to engage with this larger world. And three because eventually our notions of discomfort will be altered by the ever-changing world we live in. I believe that before too long the western notion of "uncomfortability" will alter. We will learn the painful lessons of suffering. I do not say this with glee or anticipation in the least, but rather with a belief in the reality of the world. We should be grateful for our notions of discomfort, but never blind, ignorant, or obtuse to the "uncomfortability" of the world around us. That we would open our eyes. That I would open my eyes.

The "uncomfortability" of the church in the west, in American is a different thought, along similar lines, but for another thread. Until then...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


It might seem odd to write about writing, perhaps even ironic; however, it's oddly fitting, and on some level necessary, depending upon ones chosen form of expression, and subsequently necessary at the present time.

Writing is an art.
A craft.
An outlet for inward expression.
A processing ground.
Mental breath.

The process of crafting, coercing and causing words to exist together in a harmonious fashion is a beautiful and satisfying thing.

It's like a puzzle. There are pieces which upon first examination seem to fit; however, when more closely inspected the pieces clearly do not belong. It is the same with an ill-constructed sentence, phrase or thought. It simply doesn't fit.

Joy arises from finding the most fitting construction. It's like a personal triumph when the sentence, thought or phrase, after perhaps much coercion, chooses to behave and comply. It's a most beautiful thing, the crafting of thoughts together.

I find much pleasure in it. Fitting words, phrases, meanings, insinuations into their most becoming positions. It's like dressing a beautiful model, it must be done with care and skill. A gorgeous model is good but beautiful clothes are necessary. Word dressing is an art, and it requires much practice. Perhaps I need to find some models to dress...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


It's an interesting concept. Being. It's multi-faceted. It could mean "being" in the sense of being (no pun intended) physically still, as in reference to local. Or, It could mean "being" in the sense of mental or emotional satisfaction. Both concepts involve contentment. Being is a foreign notion to modern society. Current culture dictates a paradigm of "doing" rather than "being." It cannot be denied. We have learned to evaluate value and success based upon what it is that we do or accomplish above all else. We have lost, or perhaps never had, an appreciation for the lack of doing. Being. There is seemingly no value in it. It does not produce anything and is thus deemed an unworthy pursuit, according to modern society. However, I assert that it is an essential pursuit. We cannot do without first being. We can do and do and do all day long, but if there is no time to simply pause and be, truly be, than we are only lost in our doing. Life is fruitless without pause, without reflection. As Socrates said, "the unexamined life is not worth living." We must examine. But, to do so, we must first "be."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


It's not always a pleasant thing, reality, but it's reality--we cannot escape it. We can attempt to skirt it's effects for a time via distractions; however, such attempts are truly futile because we are always forced back to reality sooner or later. Reality is inescapable. You may ask how I am defining reality in this context? I'll tell you. I take reality for today to be the relentless, raw, painful, and even mundane that comes to define our daily lives. I shall not exclude all positivity from this definition, because I am generally, by nature, an optimist. Reality is also beautiful. Because truly, it's not all bad all the time. That's what hell is for. However, for today I am earring on the side of the pessimist. Today's reality is not desirable, but tomorrow perhaps I will wake an optimist again. But, I cannot allow this dueling battle between two disparate parts of a thought process dictate my happiness, or rather I can, but I should not not allow the battle to dictate my joy. That should never be tainted, even by reality. Lofty aim perhaps, but truth. Reality will not always be pleasant, but are we not called to count it joy whenever we meet trials of various kinds? I believe so. That and that alone should be my reality. There is a greater reality than this. And this I must remember...