Monday, 30 November 2009

An afterword...

"At some point, we need to accept the boundaries of our control and see the brick walls for what they are."

The brick wall wasn't meant to represent any given challenge or obstacle in our lives, but more so, the environment and often, the situations we find ourselves in. While our decisions in the now effect where in our environment we will end up, can we really say they change our environment completely? With so many variables, so many other people influencing the world, it's important to realize it isn't just MY world. I am not the only one with impact. I'm not saying I'm power-less, just simply, I'm not in control.

The ant attempting to take down a brick wall wasn't meant to be an analogy on how we face challenges in our lives, but more so, an analogy on how difficult and hopeless it would be to attempt to control all realms of our environment. And I find, that is often what these so-called motivational quotes tend to suggest. Absolute control. And that's just not realistic. No matter how inspiring it may sound.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Imagining Managing

I’ve developed an impatience for motivational sayings these days. Not all of them, just some in particular (I understand different things motivate all of us, but the ones I’m currently nit-picking at have a common theme of falsehood.)

Take charge of your life!

Make your own opportunities!

YOU control your destiny!

If you fail to plan, you are planning to Fail!

I’m sure a lot of you are ready to defend these as I declare lies and deceit. That’s fine. I hope the day that you realize “controlling” your environment is as realistic as “planning” to win the lottery comes sooner than later for you.

I remember living my life abiding my those sayings – Wow, did it ever seem like I had my shit together! Key word here: “seem.” You develop skills at forcing life to go in certain directions, but eventually you have to be honest, and that’s when I’ll admit I spent most of my time convincing myself and those around me that I caused things to happen the way they were happening. How dare I exclaim that something was happening to me and I was simply reacting! Never! Not in Miranda’s World! I’m a driven, motivated and “in-control” person. Go team Type A!

Giggle, snort! Some good that did me.

I’ll break it down. Rather than seeing things rationally, rather than accepting the lack of control we have on this planet, I’d blame myself.

“Well, if that didn’t work out exactly as I planned it, I must have screwed something up! Where did I make the mistake? I must not have put in enough effort…”

Rather than accepting the laws of physics and time and the walls of capability within those realms, I constantly tried to expand them… and blamed myself when I failed.

Spiral, spiral, spiral…. Plop. I think I landed somewhere in the land despair and hopelessness believing I was useless and lazy, ignorant and incapable, weak and without-potential. It’s like an ant trying to tear down a brick wall all on its own. At some point, we need to accept the boundaries of our control and see the brick walls for what they are.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t a million different ways to approach these walls and use them to our benefit, because there is, but that is just chasing those motivational sayings again. In essence, it’s just finding new ways to force life down a certain path (I tried multiple methods of those after climbing out of my spiraling self-esteem pit.)

While I do believe in taking responsibility for our actions and recognizing we have influence and impact on the world around us, that is quite different than setting the expectation to a level of unprecedented control. There is a fine balance between accepting life as it is, and using the now to move us forward. For me, that no longer involves telling myself that I’m controlling my future. I’ve got a say in the direction I’m headed, but it’s so minute. Without exaggerating our power and influence, efforts at success are hardly futile, but faith and trust need to be seen as playing as big a role as our physical actions.

“Trust the universe.” I remember a brilliant and joy-filled woman telling me this one morning over coffee. It falls quite in line with my new ‘go-to’ saying of the year – round pegs go in round holes, square pegs go in square holes; don’t try to force it any other way.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

God Is Love

“God’s presence is best experienced in the sacred space that exists between people when love is offered and received rather than in special buildings and pious places” – Bruxy Cavey, End of Religion.

God is Love.
God IS Love.
God is LOVE.

You can say a million times and still not get it. We can verbally say that God is everywhere that Love is, and maybe some of us can actually imagine it, but for me it’s really hard to grasp.

What if we just took away the whole image of God as this omnipotent “being” sitting up in the sky dictating?
What if we were to say Love dictated this world?
What if Love was what really made decisions in this place?
What if we could actually SEE that the more Love that is put into this world, the more God is in this world, and therefore the more ‘goodness’ is in the world?
Can we see the three things move together?

For me that just creates a whole knew look around my faith. The idea that Jesus is a human representation of what PURE LOVE looks like. A man, who in everyway, every shape, and every form showed, gave and received Love.

Wouldn’t that make MORE sense in some cases?

Like how Jesus is said to live forever in all of us. To believe that every single one of us has a small part of this man inside of us sounds a little like fiction.
But to believe that each and every one of us is completely capable of receiving and offering Love sounds way more believable (yet, still difficult for some to fully comprehend).

So when we were created in God’s image, we were created in an image of Love?
Does that make sense?
Maybe that’s why every one seems to crave it… seek it… revolve around it.
We’re all trying our own ways to be loved (fame, power, sex, money, whatever it is.)
I think there are quite a few people in this world that realized that what they were really after in this world wasn’t any of that stuff. They just want Love. Or as we Christians always put it – if we fill our lives with God, we shall be fulfilled.
Maybe that’s the same as saying if we fill our lives with Love, we shall be fulfilled.

So how do we fill our lives with Love?

I guess we’d have to define Love in order to know how to fill ourselves with it.
We all know how Love feels, but can we all agree that LOVE IS NOT AN EMOTION? Love itself is not a feeling, but love can make you feel a certain way. I guess you could say that when you are “in Love” with a person, that IS a feeling, but it’s not the same as the actual word Love.

Can most of us agree that “Loving” someone and being “in Love” with someone are two different things?

I’m sure lots of people have an argument against my definition of Love, but a really smart man told me this once and I’ve never heard it put better.

Love is Honor.

If you can really, truly honor and respect another person that is showing them Love. Putting their needs above and beyond your own.
Making sacrifices so that the person you Love can be honored and respected.

Now to fill your life with Love, you REALLY have to love everyone. Now I just don’t mean the people you like. That is, for the most part, easy.
I’m talking about being self-sacrificing and respectful to those people you don’t like.

I’m sure by now most of you have this image of turning into a doormat in midst of trying to put a little love into this world. I guess that’s when common sense is supposed to kick in and you realize that saying “yes” to everyone isn’t the same thing as honoring and respecting those around you. Just because some body WANTS something, doesn’t mean it’s the right (or Loving) thing for them. And taking care of yourself doest NOT mean you aren’t being loving to others. In most cases, taking care of yourself is one way of showing honor and respect for others.

I guess that’s my way of saying – In the end, Love rules all. It doesn’t matter how bad you fuck up. If you can make the most loving decision possible (big or small) than you will be fulfilled.

Now it’s just a matter of understanding what the loving decision is, which again, isn’t always easy.

So now we have this God inside all of us, moving between us, being offered and received, being shared, being stored, being horded, being stolen, being given, being drained, being shattered, being built, being upheld, being bombarded…. BEING.

How much more do you treasure Love knowing that it IS God?
How much more important is that word when you say “ I Love you”, knowing you just promised to completely honor and respect that person to Godly standards with three little words.?

And at the same time, how much closer does it bring God to us, knowing that every time you are shown Love, or show Love, it’s God, right there, surviving in the midst of it all between us?
It takes a lot of risk. A lot of faith. To just step up and make the Loving decision when it looks as though you will gain nothing in the end. But you will. Because that’s how heaven works. You give a little, and gain a lot, even if you don’t see it right away.

(This blog is a re-post; I wrote it a couple year ago, but it's so perfect in explaining who God is to me, and in that, a lot about who I am and how I see this world.)