Month / October 2015
Learning is a never-ending Game
This is a reminder not to stay in a place because it's safe but to continue challenging myself and to pursue new opportunities and to continue being the beginner in whatever project I decide to pursue.
An Invocation for beginnings
Don’t call it a comeback, I’ll have hair for years.
I’m scared. I’m scared that my abilities are gone. I’m scared that I’m going to fuck this up, and I’m scared of you.
I don’t wanna’ start, but I will.
This is an invocation for anyone who hasn’t begun, whose stuck in a terrible place between 0 and 1.
Let me realize that my past failures that follow through are no indication of my future performance, their just healthy little fires that are gonna’ warm up my ass.
If my FILDI* is strong let me keep him in a velvet box until I really really need him.
If my FILDI* is weak let me feed him oranges and not let him gorge himself on ego and arrogance.
Let me not hit up my Facebook like it’s a crack-pipe, keep the browser closed.
If I catch myself wearing a tutu (too), too fat too late too old, let me shake it off like a donkey would shake off something it doesn’t like.
When I get that feeling in my stomach, you know that feeling when all the sudden you get a ball of energy and it shoots down into your legs and up into your arms and tells you to stand up and goto the refrigerator and get a cheese sandwich – that’s my cheese monster talking. And my cheese monster will never be satisfied with cheddar, only the cheese of accomplishment.
Let me think about the people that I care about the most. And how when they fail or disappoint me I still love them, I still give them chances, and I still see the best in them – let me extend that generosity to myself.
Let me find and use metaphors to help me understand the world around me, and give me the strength to get rid of them when it’s apparent that they no longer work.
Let me thank the parts of me that I don’t understand or are outside of my control, like my creativity and my courage.
Let me remember that my courage is a wild dog, it won’t just come when I call it. I have to chase it down and hold on as tight as I can.
Let me not be so vain to think that I am the sole author of my victories, and a victim of my defeats.
Let me remember that the unintended meaning that people project on what I do is neither my fault, nor something that I can take credit for.
Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes, but he’s a little bit of an asshole and nobody invites him to their pool parties.
Let me remember that the impact of criticism is often not the intent of the critic, but when the intent is evil that’s what the block button is for.
And when I eat my critique, let me be able to separate out the good advice from the bitter herbs.
Let me not think of my work only as a stepping stone to something else, and if it is let me become fascinated by the shape of the stone.
Let me take the idea that has gotten me this far, and put it to bed. What I’m about to do will not be that. But it will be something.
There’s no need to sharpen my pencils anymore, my pencils are sharp enough – even the dull ones will make a mark. Warts and all.
Let’s start this shit up.
And god let me enjoy this, life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.
- FILDI: F**k It Let's Do It
How Do We Know What We Want: Milan Kundera on the Central Ambivalences of Life and Love
Originally from Brainpickings
“Live as if you were living already for the second time," Viktor Frankl wrote in his 1946 masterwork on the human search for meaning, "and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!" And yet we only live once, with no rehearsal or reprise – a fact at once so oppressive and so full of possibility that it renders us, in the sublime words of Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska, “ill-prepared for the privilege of living.” All the while, we walk forward accompanied by the specters of versions of ourselves we failed to or chose not to become. “Our lived lives," wrote psychoanalyst Adam Phillips in his magnificent manifesto for missing out, "might become a protracted mourning for, or an endless tantrum about, the lives we were unable to live. But the exemptions we suffer, whether forced or chosen, make us who we are." We perform this existential dance of yeses and nos to the siren song of one immutable question: How do we know what we want, what to want?
Czech-French writer Milan Kundera examines our ambivalent amble through life with unparalleled grace and poetic precision in his 1984 novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being (public library) – one of the most beloved and enduringly rewarding books of the past century.
Because love heightens all of our senses and amplifies our existing preoccupations, it is perhaps in love that life's central ambivalences grow most disorienting – something the novel's protagonist, Tomáš, tussles with as he finds himself consumed with the idea of a lover he barely knows:
He had come to feel an inexplicable love for this all but complete stranger.
But was it love? ... Was it simply the hysteria of a man who, aware deep down of his inaptitude for love, felt the self-deluding need to simulate it? ... Looking out over the courtyard at the dirty walls, he realized he had no idea whether it was hysteria or love.
The woman eventually becomes Tomáš's wife, which only further affirms that even the rightest choice can present itself to us shrouded in uncertainty and doubt at the outset, its rightness only crystallized in the clarity of hindsight. Kundera captures the universal predicament undergirding Tomáš's particular perplexity:
We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.
There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, "sketch" is not quite the word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, it bears repeating, is one of the most life-magnifying books one could ever read. Complement this particular point of inflection with Donald Barthelme on the art of not-knowing and Adam Phillips on the rewards of the unlived life.
While trying to avoid difficulty may be natural and understandable, it actually doesn’t work. We think it makes sense to protect ourselves from pain, but our self-protection ends up causing us deeper pain. We think we have to hold on to what we have, but our very holding on causes us to lose what we have. We’re attached to what we like and try to avoid what we don’t like, but we can’t keep the attractive object and we can’t avoid the unwanted object. So, counterintuitive though it may be, avoiding life’s difficulties is actually not the path of least resistance: it is a dangerous way to live.
If you want to have a full and happy life, in good times and bad, you have to get used to the idea that facing misfortune squarely is better than trying to escape from it.
Norman Fischer -- Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong
“I can believe that things are true and I can believe things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen – I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women. I believe that the future sucks and I believe that future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone’s ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind’s destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it’s aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there’s a cat in a box somewhere who’s alive and dead at the same time (although if they don’t ever open the box to feed it it’ll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn’t even know that I’m alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of casual chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn’t done it properly. I believe that anyone claims to know what’s going on will lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, a baby’s right to live, that while all human life is sacred there’s nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”
Samantha Black Crow (From American Gods)