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Posts Tagged ‘Quotes’

To quote Amy Howe’s piece, “In historic decision, Court strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage.”  As someone who has a deep respect and gratitude for all the ways love is expressed in this world, this means a lot to me.

I remember watching the progress of this struggle a few years ago, when cautious voices were asking people to slow down on this issue, and not push the matter too quickly. I understood their fear, that the wrong case would go before the wrong court, and there would be a heavy blow dealt to equality just because people tried to move too fast.

So I don’t mean to say that those who are cautious are cowardly. However, those who stand up in the face of opposition from within and without, driven forward by the pounding in their heart — they most certainly are courageous. I recognized the dangers, as it’s pretty evident what happens to people who buck against long-held “traditions”. But I felt the courageous way was the only way forward.

I sincerely believe that love is the powerful force we need to resolve the obstacles that remain before us. But love alone won’t effect those solutions; we each must do our part to speak and act with love in all the ways we feel moved to do so. It takes courage. It takes patience. It takes kindness for others and with ourselves. But as much as we need love, love needs us to flow through this beautiful world of ours.

Please, keep an ear toward the beating of your own heart, and allow it to guide you along the path it needs to travel with you. It will guide you true, and together you will make your corner of our planet a brighter place to be.

Note: The title of this post is taken from Galifesto. It’s currently available for pre-order; contact me if interested in a review copy.

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Okay, so if you take a look at how long it’s been since my last post, today’s post carries extra irony.  (See the comments from that post…)

You see, I had planned to follow up the following day with an admission that the de-stressing techniques that I’d learned are great… when I remember to do them.  And I hadn’t been remembering to keep up with self-maintenance and such.  These past few months have been terrible for me to keep up a consistency with… well, almost anything, really!  So near the start of the month I started to assess where I’d been letting things slip and where I’d hoped to get re-engaged, and made some notes on some steps I could take to get things back on track.

And here I am.  Creeping into the last week of the month, with none-too-much of what I’d hoped for actually accomplished.  So what am I going to do about it?

I’m going to apply another lesson I learned in my Summer Chrysalis phase: Be patient with yourself.  Take a look at what derailed you, and make some honest assessments on how you can do better from this point forward.

After all, as a wise man recently said, “Best to keep it all in perspective, otherwise the stress of forgetting to destress just makes us more stressed.”

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In one of my favorite movies, The Incredibles, there’s the following exchange between a kid who can run superheroically fast, and his super-powered mom:

Dash: You always say ‘Do your best’, but you don’t really mean it. Why can’t I do the best that I can do?
Helen: Right now, honey, the world just wants us to fit in, and to fit in, we gotta be like everyone else.
Dash: But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.
Helen: Everyone’s special, Dash.
Dash: [muttering] Which is another way of saying no one is.

To me, that’s always been a perfect two-part summation of how, culturally, we can help keep each other down.  For the first part, there’s a strong pressure to “fit in”, and not make waves.  Sure, we talk about how everybody should strive to be the best there is, but once someone starts hitting that inspirational high, we then start trying to tear them down.  Part of it might be jealousy, and part of it might be lashing out in the internal fear that we could never be allowed to reach our own heights.

There also seems to be a cultural impulse to attack people who stand out with the accusation that they’re doing something arrogant and selfish for contradicting the way “everybody” expects a person to think and act.  It’s like there’s a strong resistance to anything disrupting the comfort zone of the “status quo”, sort of like how people say that in America you can have all the Free Speech you want so long as your speech won’t matter.  It’s standing out to make a difference that inspires other people to start embracing their own specialness, that’s where you start to get into trouble.

And that leads into the second part.  Everybody truly is special.  The problem is that for too many people, “special” is some kind of competition where only the winners qualify.  It’s as though “special” has to mean “significantly better than almost everybody else at something rare or spectacular”, and that you have to be the right kind of “special” to get that supreme validation as a uniquely valuable person.  That is so completely backwards.

Special means, essentially, “pertaining or peculiar to a particular person/thing, distinctive, unique”.  And that’s you.  That is absolutely, completely you.  You are a genuinely unique assembly of hopes and fears and skills and doubts and loves and dislikes and pleasures and pains.  Your world may have a lot in common with a lot of people, but only you have exactly your way of being in it.  You are special.  And this matters.

Naturally, this gets challenged.  People scoff, “Well if everybody’s equal, then how can you say that each person is so specially important?  Doesn’t that mean none of us matter?”

This makes me think of some truly beautifully intricate puzzles I’ve seen, where each piece is actually made up of smaller complete pictures.  It’s the combination of the arrangements of the tiny sets of pictures that shows the larger picture on the puzzle when you step back.  Can you picture what I’m talking about?  Now imagine if even one of the pieces was missing.  Is the puzzle still complete, or did that piece matter?

I’ll talk more tomorrow about just how much it matters.

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Note – I found this in my drafts folder from September 20, 2009. It feels applicable today, so I’m posting it unchanged.

I’ve got a few decisions pending up in front of me, on top of all the other information I need to be aware of and make a choice about. One of the paralyzing things about choices is the fear that we’re not making the right choice for the future that’s up ahead and around the corner. It’s too far away for us to see where it leads… so how can we tell where it will take us?

Actually, we generally can’t. So we’ve got to make the best choices for now, recognizing that we may well have to revise those choices as we get a better picture, or as the scene around us changes on its own. So it’s less about having all the answers, and more in howing to recognize the answers we do have, and do our best with them. And then making peace with the choices we’ve made, so we can keep working with and changing them as we go.

Wisdom consists not so much in knowing what to do in the ultimate as knowing what to do next.
– Herbert Hoover

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I’m listening to my baby babble happily to his mobile as he’s taking his time getting to sleep, and it’s a beautiful sound.  He’s one reason I’ve devoted myself to getting my focus together to create things that feel important to me, since I want him to own his voice and use it wisely and well.  I figure the only way I could hope for that through him is to first try to make it real through myself.  Example is the strongest teacher, especially when it contradicts the words.

I was just responding to the patient and poetic J. A. Jordan about creativity, and it set my mind on the topic.  I keep meaning to get back to themes and values in When Atlas Shirked, but I want to close out the week by talking about why I think it’s important to continually participate in conscious creation.  And I don’t just mean what people normally think of as creation, as in inventing things or writing or creating other types of art.  I also mean the creation and re-creation of ideas, and values, and emotions, and understanding — continually creating who we are.

Here’s what thoughts rambled off the tips of my fingers:

I always need to be creating something.  To me, that’s what life is, a continual act of creation – either we work to create consciously, or are created by the haphazard influences of our subconscious internalization of our environment.

Someone once said something to the effect that “To be alive is to experience constant change, a continual farewell to who and what we have known. So we can either participate in constant creation and truly live, or cling to the past in stagnation. Only the dead do not change”

I then went to go look up where I had last read something like that, and found it was an old philosophical text I was working on at one point, modeled after the Hagakure.  I only got three chapters in, and it’s in a pretty dry style since I was modeling off a pretty dry translation, so I’ll have to think about whether it’d be worth y’all’s time posting it here.  Especially since that would seem to me like an inherent dare to finish it.

Regardless, I know I’m not the only person to have thought this way, so I think you’ll have some understanding of how I feel.  Stagnation brings a heavy, frustrating feeling of stuckness, and has the same general effects on our health and psyche as being physically caged.  (In my own observation)  And the longer we feel stuck, the more we feel being lost to or drained away by a bad situation, the harder it is to pull ourselves out of the mud and move on.

What’s worse, we can feel so invested in our stuckness, it seems like a bad investment to let go and move on.  I think that ties in to our fear of death, which to me seems like a fear of losing what we know to face what we can’t be sure of.  But to me, that’s what life is all about.  We are continually losing the present into the past, to face the future for all its hopes and fears.  In order to make use of the present, we have to let go of all that and free our hands up to create every single moment as best we can.

I thought I shared this thought here already, but I couldn’t find it, so here goes:

Be careful that you don’t become like the gambler who bets what he can’t afford to lose on a hand that just can’t win.   He’s lost so much already, he can’t bear to cut his losses and walk away.

I hope that conveys what I’m trying to convey, because I’m finding this difficult to pin down.  I think I’m going to accept that as the nature of my thoughts right now.  Rather than try to force them into a particular shape, I believe it’s best to let them go to be as they are.

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Time enough for a quick thought about not getting caught up in trying to settle on the perfect answer…

The trouble with life isn’t that there is no answer, it’s that there are so many answers.
Ruth Benedict

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Today’s thought is again from Cary Tennis, my favorite advice writer/prosepoet at Salon.com —

I would amend the oft-repeated belief that everything happens for a reason, in this way: Everything may indeed happen for a reason, but we do not have to know what that reason is before acting. As stated, it is a little too pat, too cause-and-effect for my taste. If you wait to know the reason, you may never act. You act. Then things become clear. That’s more often how it works. Rather than rational certainty, often what you need to act on is a trust in probability, and a trust in inevitability, and your own desire. Trust your own desire. It will often lead you the right way.

– Cary Tennis, Since You Asked September 8, 2009

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