Saturday, December 25, 2010

Running Off Trail

Romance and I run differently through life. I run off trail. I leap over downed trees, cross rivers, climb up mountains, and slide down glaciers. I’m never exactly sure where I’ll end up and I love the adventure of it. Romance runs on the sidewalk; the path turns to the right and dating greets you, the path turns left and there lives marriage in a house with a white picket fence, and around the next corner kids run out and block the path. It all sounds so dull. Sidewalks just aren’t my style.
Being off trail does get lonely so occasionally I do run on the sidewalk with romance. Usually it’s unexpected. I’ll be running through the woods and suddenly a sidewalk will appear so I decide to follow it for a little while and eventually romance and I find each other. Sometimes I get scared and run back into the woods because running off trail is far less painful than the cement romance runs on. Other times I’m ready to handle the pain and romance and I run together for a short time, but we always part ways. I love the company, but no matter how lonely I get, I can’t be away from adventure for romance’s uninteresting sidewalk for too long because the cement hurts my knees and there is usually an exciting creature luring me to chase it back into the forest. The problem is that once I run with romance for awhile, it reminds me of how alone I am and how much more meaningful the run is when I have someone to share it with.
Recently, I took a turn and got a glimpse of a sidewalk. I started jogging towards it, but to my surprise, I collided with romance before I even hit the sidewalk. I thought that romance had finally gotten gutsy enough to wander out into the forest, but it turns out that it was just cutting trail to get to someone else’s sidewalk; someone who was a lot more shiny, blond, and witty. Romance used my section of forest and shoved me in to the mud on its way out.
Since I was younger, I’ve been programmed to believe that the “perfect girl” is shiny, blond, skinny, smart, witty, always knows what to say, and runs on sidewalks (growing up in a Mormon town and too many Disney princess movies I guess). Whatever mold that was, I didn’t come from it. I’m an off trail loving granola bar; I like my plain jane style, pounds of makeup make me feel clown-like, sports bras are way more comfortable, and my brown curly hair is easier to deal with in a pony tail. If I could be outside all the time hiking, climbing, and swimming in lakes, I would be happy. I’m also really spacey, I say things that make no sense, and I can be awkward. This is who I am. I’ve tried to be something different, but it just makes me unhappy. The truth is if I have to change to be with romance, then I’d rather be alone. I’m not going to switch to sidewalks or put on an unpractical snazzy outfit just to get romance to chase me into the forest.
I’ve learned that romance isn’t my running shoes. I don’t need it to keep running, but it’s a good companion and it’s nice to have when it’s around. When it does shove me in the mud, I can get up, dust off, and keep running. While skimming through Blue like Jazz (which I often do when I’m looking for some wisdom), I came across a line where Don Miller states that “love is an opposite of loneliness, but not the opposite.” Sometimes we get coaxed into thinking that romance is the only way to deal with loneliness, but it’s not true. Friends, family, and community all provide that companionship that we all crave. They can even be more satisfying because they don’t create the expectations that romance does. The key is not looking for romance to use as running shoes or dragging romance along, but instead running into romance and it wanting to join the run. Be content with yourself and find someone you can share the off trail adventure with.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

13 Important Things to Remember throughout Life’s Journey

1.Rumi said, “Out beyond ideas if wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” Always take perspective into account. This will lead to more understanding and less argument. Right and wrong is all a matter of perspective. There is more than one path to get to the summit of a mountain, but in the end we all end up in the same place. It’s just a matter of how we choose to get there.
2.Every experience is important. Whether it’s good or bad, it is still meaningful. Everyone goes through hard times and they teach us life lessons and how to truly enjoy the good times. We know more after we’ve been through those dark patches.
3.Humans aren’t machines. Every person has emotion and our attitudes towards others do have an impact. Be a positive contribution to the community pool. People aren’t inanimate objects. We should all make an effort to really see people. Just a smiling at someone can drastically make their day better.
4.Have deep conversations. It enriches life and it is the only way to discover more answers. No one person possesses all the answers to the meaningful questions of life. Every conversation sparks new thoughts and ideas and a greater understanding of the world.
5.Live in the now. Life isn’t about the story. It’s about experiencing the moment as it happens. The past is for reflecting on and learning from. The future is unpredictable and the only way to help steer the future is by living in what’s happening in the moment you’re in.
6.You control your happiness. Emerson states, “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” Bad things happen but every person has the power to change the situation or change their perspective about the situation.
7.Accepting emotions you’re feeling and owning up to them is healthy. Happiness isn’t If you’re feeling angry or annoyed or sad
8.According to Don Miller, "Everybody, every person, has to leave, has to change like seasons; they have to or they die. The seasons remind me that I must keep changing." Change is an important part of life. The world is in a constant state of change. There is no way to stop it, so we have to be willing to change with it or we will be left behind.
9.Write down your goals. They are 40% more likely to happen if you do.
10.“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” -Henry David Thoreau. Follow your dreams, not society. If you want to do something, make it happen. You will be much happier following your dreams than following what society tells you to do.
11.Don’t ever settle. Whether it’s for a person, a job or anything, don’t do it. The things that are priorities are much better than those that are options. In time, the priority will turn up so don’t settle for the option.
12.Choose people you want to have in your life, not need. People flow in and out of you life and if you need someone, it could lead to sadness and disappointment. If all the people in your life are ones that you just want to be there, when they move in and out, it won’t hurt as bad and it will cause you to appreciate those people when they are there.
13.Accept that humans aren’t the only species on the planet and they are not the most important. Just because we’re the only ones capable of dominating the planet doesn’t give us the right to do so. Every species has the right to live and contributes to the well being of the Earth.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Love the Action and Live in the Present

In the Bhagavad Gita, one of Krishna’s many lessons is learning to love the action, and not just the fruit of the action. This is a concept that is foreign to many people. We get caught up in the reward of the action rather than enjoying the actual process of getting to the reward. Think about it; we sit in class and think about the grade rather than really wanting to gain knowledge, we work hard in jobs we hate for the money, and we run or swim or bike even though we hate it to be in shape. The focus should be shifted to what we are doing in this very instant of time rather than what the outcome of the action is. The outcome is short lived and the action lasts much longer. Actions take up about 98% of our lives and the fruit of that action makes up about 2%. That means that 98% of our lives are being wasted doing something that is not enjoyable. The action should be enjoyed. Love to learn, love to work, love to run, love to breathe, just love everything that you do and life will be good. The outcomes are just an added bonus. “I love my work, and I’m making money!” is a much more appealing thought than, “I spend most of my time at my job and I’m miserable, but hey I made some money!”
Rock climbing is a perfect example of this type of thought process. When you’re working on a project, you have a general plan of how you’re going to top out, but the concentration isn’t solely on being on the top. The focus is on the process of getting there. Completing each move is an accomplishment in itself. If the only focus is topping out, it is highly unlikely you will get past the current move. To complete anything, the concentration has to be on the rock, where you’re at in the current moment, no straying thoughts, just present and in tune with everything going on around you.
Loving the action is also tied to living in the present. Sometimes life gets hard and stress and unhappiness cause a shift in focus from the present to a happy memory or a daydream of how the future may play out. Memories are good to have and reflect on periodically but they are not a good place live. Learn from the mistakes, laugh at the comedic points and smile because it happened. Wishing that things were the way they used to be won’t do any good, because life is constantly changing and there is no way to time travel back to those events. The key is to move on and accept that the past has happened and that the present is what’s real and concrete. We can change our circumstances to make the present what we want it to be. The future is also not a place to live. Daydreaming about how life may play out doesn’t mean that it will happen. It’s a good way to have some direction, but our current actions are what lead us to the future and we will see what will happen when we get there. Live in the space of time that can be controlled.
Living in the present can be compared a book. Your life is a book that you are writing. The page you are on is what is happening at the current moment in time. Previous pages are events that have already happened and later pages are blank because they haven’t been written yet. Flipping back to look and reflect on previous pages is possible, but the story must go on, so we must return to where we are currently at in the story. Reading ahead, there are only blank pages, so all we can do is imagine what we think may be there. We won’t know what will be on the page until we get there and those pages will remain blank unless we keep writing.


Sorrow pools in the heart. The more pain there is, the bigger the pool becomes, until eventually it forms a lake that keeps filling and the water begins to overflow. The lake must then be emptied or it will flood the entire heart. Sorrow is released in tears. With each tear, the level of the lake lowers until it is empty and all that’s left is a patch of soil. This space is barren for a while, but the soil is moist and with the right gardening techniques new, more prominent growth can occur. Life moves forward.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Big Bang

In the beginning, there is a point; a single point in the depths of my mind, containing all the energy and matter for an idea. What is a point, but a condensed circle? It is the nature of the point to be its circular form, the more encompassing version of itself, so it creates an explosion of energy and particles within itself, causing an outward expansion. The point is then a circle. An idea is born.