Thursday, 29 October 2009

Would you blame the red jacket?

He was holding his father’s hand. More so, his hand was tightly enclosed in his father’s grip. I’d estimate his age to be around 3 years old. Maybe just a small 4 year old. Wearing such a bright red jacket – geisha red. Calm curiosity is how I would describe his facial expression. Simply observing his surroundings, but not paying an ounce of attention to where his father was taking him, where his feet were stepping. I watched his eyes for a long time, my own calm curiosity infecting my imagination. I wonder what questions he’s asking himself. Slowly trying to articulate the words to pose it to his father. Something common, I assume. Something you and I wouldn’t think to ask. Something that is a huge mystery to him. Wow, his Dad is going to look like such a hero for knowing the answer to this one. And then, BAM.

Calm? Gone. Curiosity? Gone.

All of that is clouded over with fear. Proceeded by, embarrassment with an encore of fear. And then, a dose of pain. Sprinkle with some humiliation and Voila! That’s what happens when you trip, slip and Daddy wasn’t paying attention to react fast enough and keep your tiny hand squeezed in his grip.

Definitely ate a pile of dirt. Definitely going to have some bruises. Definitely needs a really big bear hug from Dad.

After a firm father-son embrace, Dad wipes off his son’s clothes, gives another tight squeeze, and continues walking, this time both paying closer attention.

I love how we learn lessons in life. So many times the hard way. I’m by no means a fan of churning my own butter just to prove it really comes from cows, but at some point, I want to know that some relationships are cause and effect. At some point, I want to know that if I do A, I can then assume that B, C and D will follow. But, you know what I am learning rather quickly in my early twenties? Life is NOT a causal relationship. There often is no order, rhyme or reason.

It’s not as though every time this boy drifts into thoughts of curiosity, he’s going to shortly afterwards experience pain and humiliation for his lack of focus on the now.

But, in a more ambiguous way, we tell ourselves that. The oh-so-logical, “I had ____ experience once, and then ____ happened to me. Surely, it must happen every time.” I know rationally and scientifically we would never state such cases. The sample size is too small; too many dependent variables to count; possibly, the relationship is simply correlated and hardly causal. But, nonetheless, our minds have a temptation to continually create a black and white structure to the patterns that surface.

I, admittedly, have a weak spot for relating my mental and emotional outlooks and attitudes directly on the effects I see in my real life. In layman’s, what I’m saying is, I tend to believe my internal motivations and intentions play a larger role in how opportunities lay out in my life than the actual actions that proceed them. I understand there are many great arguments against this, but none have registered with me quite yet.

I’m trying to use this as an example to pull this “1,2,3/ A,B,C / black and white” mentality that we are all drawn to under a different focus on the microscope.

It seems, that even when our life paths aren’t drawn out and the freedom to pave our own roads is there, we still try and structure it. Find logical reason in why things turn out the way they do.

Curious, isn’t it? I’m tempted to say it’s the fear. Fear of the unknown. Better the evil you know???

This constant desire to understand and foresee the future, starting from a scientific level with hypothesis and highly calculated predictions, to things as belief oriented as astrology and religion, creates a world of questions around why we do what we do.

Are all our actions manipulative? Meant to evoke a response? … I’ll save that tangent for another time.

I digress back to the little boy in the red jacket. We create silly ideas when we are children. Relate things to other things they shouldn’t be related to. Let say he fell again in that same red jacket. A few days later, his mother can’t figure out why her son won’t wear the red jacket anymore. Let’s say his father had gotten mad at him for not focusing on where he was walking when he fell. Would he be mad at himself for asking too many questions? For being curious? What would this child correlate his fall to?

What’s my point? What correlations and “life lessons” are we making about life (everyday) that stop us from wearing our red jacket? That keep us from asking questions about this world? From pursuing love? From making new friends? Forgiving old enemies? Facing an old issue? From eating sushi? What fear of the unknown, and what ridiculous desire to predict the future is keeping us set in our ways and stubborn to the reality that life just isn’t that easily calculated?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Emotional Irrationality

This is perfect. So mentally prepared, yet it does nothing when the emotions are unraveled.

No one feels sane or rational during heart break.

At least it was worth it. It doesn't matter how bad it hurts now, because there was so much gained through it all. I learned a lot. And I mean, A LOT.

Above all else, I rediscovered and solidified a very important lesson regarding relationships...

... Round pegs go in round holes, square pegs go in square holes. Don't force it. Just let it be.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Just Be

I really want to tell you about this customer who came into work yesterday. She was… simple; not entirely mentally aware, maybe. She seemed rather cranky actually. Was frustrated that I couldn’t understand what she was asking for.

( I was also frustrated that I had no idea what she was asking for.)

Eventually, I deciphered her request and was able to accommodate it. When I returned from the back of the clinic, she was sitting on the bench in the window reading a paper. I sat down next to her and explained the device and showed her how to properly wear it, and while doing this I attempted some small talk.

“Enjoying your morning so far?”

“Enjoy? What is there to enjoy?” was her retort with a tone of ‘what a ridiculous question!’ to under-set it.

Hmm… not exactly the response I expected. She muttered it a more few times. I think her seemingly disgruntled demeanor prior to my deduction of what she wanted tainted my view of this comment. I assumed, as I’m sure anyone would, that this response was pessimistic; that she was implying there was nothing to enjoy about this morning. I was soon corrected.

“Well, there is always something to enjoy! You just have to look for it,” I exclaimed.

I’m well aware that my optimism sometimes appears as naivety, but this was not one of those cases. This was simply “glass-half-full” mentality.

She repeated herself again, “What is there to enjoy?”

I thought, ‘She obviously isn’t understanding the concept of changing one’s attitude.’ That’s where my true greenness showed itself. So immature to believe that it was she who didn’t understand me.

I left it alone… until we finished up the transaction. Rather than walking out the door, she went back to the bench and started finishing off the paper she’d been reading. I said to her as I passed by, “ I hope you find lots of things to enjoy about the rest of your day,” and started walking into the back.

Again, same response.

I turned around and sat next to her on the bench, and without needing to ask, without initiating that I wanted an explanation, she poured into a passionate, yet inarticulate, justification for her answer.

I wish I could recite it word-for-word, but I doubt it would really hit home with anyone else via paper as it did for me when it came from her lips. Essentially, in my own words, this was her point:

Why are we “looking” for anything? Why can’t we just be? It is what it is – don’t get too excited about it! We think that in certain moments we are supposed to feel something in particular, and if we don’t, it’s not right, it’s weird. But it’s not! It is what it is. Why do we chase being happy? Why do we chase that enjoyment? If there is something to enjoy, then enjoy it! Why are we so consumed with how we feel all the time? Why can’t we just be and if that’s how we feel, that’s how we feel?

Clearly, it was I who needed to take a moment to understand her.

This was actually very similar to a brief conversation I had with my drunk and tired girlfriend outside the bar last Saturday. After I made some comment about how quiet I was compared to normal, she gave a brief rant about “just being.” Why do we have to “be” anything? Can’t we just be as we are? I think that was the first time anyone had ever accused me of that, but I was self-assured (and she agreed) that I never really “try” to be anyway, I’m just very aware and curious of how I am and why I am that way. Does that make sense?

The whole situation with this woman in the clinic today reminded me of this line out a song called “Happiness”, by The Fray.

Happiness is like the old man told me
Look for it, but you’ll never find it all
But let it go, live your life and leave it
Then one day, wake up and she’ll be home

In short, Just be.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Someone Connects

To you, I’m laying here speaking to an illogical, omnipotent being that you don’t understand. To you, these words are mere pointless ritual simply for self-soothing. To you, this prayer is an oddity. A one-sided conversation. A message that will go undelivered and unanswered.

You think it’s silly.

To me, it a method to connect. To connect with myself. To communicate my gratitude, my passion, my desires, my fears, my Love. These words are not mere ritual, but a full rhythm song of connecting with the world around me… including you. These prayers are not in vain.

A conversation? Yes. One-sided? Potentially. Undelivered? Never. Unanswered? Insulting to suggest it.

Sometimes these prayers are silent and involve no words at all. A moment to be. Just be.

Sometimes they have no rhyme, rhythm or reason. Sometimes they are just words. Sometimes they feel shallow.

Other days it’s deep. Other days, I pour myself into them.

And let’s not confuse prayer with plea. Questions and requests do not create the body of this dialogue.

They are revealing and reflecting. I connect by becoming aware. Aware of what’s really important to me today. What is really on my mind. What concerns me. What makes me call out…

Today, I pray, that someone starts a conversation today. Someone connects.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Emotional Decoys

Why do we prompt each other to "distract" ourselves during hard times?

Your friend's Grandma dies - the most common advice is "Keep busy. The distractions help."

Help what?

Help make the pain go away?

Help make you heal faster?

It certainly doesn't help you deal with the emotions. Why can't we actually feel the emotion? How come that is never the first piece of advice?

Why do we never say, "Stop. Sit down. Be pensive. Acknowledge what you are going through; feel it; let it out; let it go..."?

This is all paired closely with my view on anti-depressant and alcohol addictions. "Just numb it for a while - it'll eventually go away." No. No. That's quite wrong. It doesn't go away.

Would you put a band-aid over an infected leg wound and expect it to heal on its own without proper cleaning, antibiotics and continual care? No. If you did that, you'd end up having to amputate your leg.


... Amputating my leg doesn't sound like such a great idea.

I don't need any "distractions", thank you very much!