Sunday, September 10, 2017

Learning How to Laugh

Because life is all about balance, this post needs to happen ;)

It's true, life contains tragedy. But life also contains laughter. There is both darkness and light. Sometimes you need to cry and have an existential crisis about the state of the world and the impoverished, depraved spirit of humanity. Sometimes you need to sit and watch America's Funniest Home videos, look at cute things on Pintrest and remember that life is not altogether as serious. Find the balance!

Here are a few things that are making me smile this fall...

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Learning How to Die

The title of my post is stolen from the artist Jon Foreman.

It might sound a little morbid, but I have been thinking a great deal about death, loneliness, mortality, etc. I want to die and be satisfied with my work, with the lives I have touched, with my appearance in my coffin.

But learning how to die is hard. You have to learn how to give everything up. You have to learn how to let things go, stupid little things that hold you back from giving it all away. You have to learn how to not talk to people out of your own insecurities, hoping they will somehow fill the hole. You have to learn how to stop procrastinating and just get things done, no matter how tired or imperfect or under-qualified you are. You have to give up pleasures like eating or drinking too much. You have to let all the materialism wash over you. You have to speak when you're tired, and be quiet when you're not. You can't complain about the blood and sweat that gets in your eyes. You solider on. That is life.

And when things seem so wearying, it is a comfort to know that they are supposed to be. I am supposed to die. I am not to stay here forever. The troubled waters in my soul will one day stop churning and the wheels that never seem to stop spinning will finally come to a halt. The long fight will be over, the day will draw to a close, these eyes surrounded by wrinkles will grow dim, and my lungs will exhale their final breath. I will be relieved of earth, I will be free from my body. Everything that I was, all that I stood for, will be etched into a single stone.

As I march to my final resting place, I must keep in mind that no one else is destined to accompany my soul to the grave except the one who made it. In case I forget, life is a personal journey. Loneliness does not truly exist unless I let it. I am never alone. The universe and its inhabitants watch my struggle from cradle to grave, I must simply remember them.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Super Hero Training Part II - The Power of Personal Action

image via Google

Life comes in waves, and with those waves come the highs and the lows. Some of us who struggle with physical depression feel these waves more acutely than others. Whatever your mental strength, you will, at some point in your life, walk into a situation that seems hopeless. In contrast, you may feel like you’re at the top of your game, unstoppable, and all-important. The key is to find your balance. You are not all-important. You are not invincible. You don’t know everything. But, you are important to some people. You do have power. You do know some things.

You may think, “All I do in life is (fill in the blank).” When you are feeling down, you may shrink yourself to the point where you feel like an ant, just a tiny little insignificant insect in a huge world. This is, so some degree, true. You are just one in 7 billion. You are most likely not in a position of power that will cause any immediate significant change to the entire world. You probably have not created a life-saving medicine, built a sky-scraper, or done anything to radically change the world for the better. And even if you have, the things you have done will most likely be forgotten. People have a terrible time remembering their history!

Don’t hang your head, though! While you are not the most important person in the world, you are important to many people. Those who are closest to you, those who see you day to day. Your family, your co-workers, your friends, these are the people whose lives you impact every day. When you take care of yourself, and do your best to be respectful in your home, your family will likely respond well to you.

Every time you make a meal, do the dishes, do your chores, listen to each other, you are ensuring that your “corporation” is running smoothly. If you take it a step further and put your own desires aside, listen to your spouse, kid, or sibling as they talk about whatever (and really engage!) you are becoming a super hero.

At work, when you get things done on time, go the extra mile to communicate, take responsibility for mistakes, and treat others with understanding, you are becoming a superhero. If you suddenly dropped everything, and neglected all your duties, your neglect would have serious consequences. Imagine that you are a rather unimportant secretary at a large law firm. Even if most all of your duties seem menial, if they are not completed, the company might suffer mightily at your hands!

You often have power that you don’t recognize because it is not flashy or amazing. It is the power of personal action. When you make a mark on the world by any action, it will affect those around you for better or for worse. Whether you are a plumber, a chef, a teacher, or artist, your work is important to someone, and by your action or inaction, you have the power to change the world one moment at a time.

At the end of the day, your interactions with other human beings will be the only thing for which you are remembered. Do not use people. Be genuine. Your work is not what you are. The way you work, the way you live your life is what you are. Your personal action is your super power.

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