Friday, July 10, 2009


This is pure and simple procrastination. In the face of an overwhelming task of building a curriculum from scratch, I'm finding myself mentally shutting down. I'm one week into a new career and finding myself already doubting my qualifications for the task. It really is not a matter of success or failure, as, in my mind, failure is not an option. But I am not approaching this career with a natural talent, or even disposition, for the work. I'm a friggin' introvert. With that said, as I continue attempting to put a proverbial square peg in a round hole, I realize that my personal approach to my job cannot affect my obligation to teach my students something of value. I see every one of them and their apathy, their angst, their brokenness, and wonder how, in God's name, I am ever going to make an impact. I'm also keenly aware that I really don't understand this profession yet. My goal has nothing to do with my obligation in a "standards" sense. I want them to think, not pass a test. But they don't think. They process and perform routines based on their programming. The values of our society have every one of us trained to respond to information in a certain way. Media has made us desensitized and passive thinkers. There is a groupthink even I seem to be breaking under, and I am. I gave into it probably in sixth grade, when I decided to follow the straight and narrow path to... success. Right. I worked hard, got a job when I turned 16, and haven't taken a breath since. In the mean time, the world shrank to the size of a paycheck.
I keep waiting for the thing to stop spinning. It reminds me of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. John Galt created this machine that can actually stop the world from spinning. Well, it's a perpetual motion motor actually. In the book the "powers that be" were screwing things up in such a fashion that the only way to salvage was to basically let the resources die and cultivate the land from scratch. I almost feel like what I need is a memory dump in the same way, like reformatting a computer drive.
Everything nowadays seems like such a chore. To me, this means I'm not approaching things correctly. Instead of being excited about the job, I'm overwhelmed and very resistant. I can't get organized because I'm too busy looking at the entire mountain. I've suddenly exposed the fact that although I have a goal and desired outcome, I, even personally, have no clue how to reach them. How do I teach others how to think when I'm shutting down like this? I'm just as susceptible to the habit of wanting to do anything else but the task at hand (as is demonstrated by this blog).
I guess there's nothing more to do in the mean time than to do my best and try to involve some faith in the situation. Faith seems to be a critical element that has been lacking for far too long, but I don't suppose I have time to delve into that topic. There is work to do.

Originally posted Monday, August 4, 2008

The Unexamined Life

So here I am, finding myself between the pages of what it definitively two very different chapters in my life. I'm foreclosing on a house, I just graduated college, I've just proposed to my girlfriend, and I just landed my first teaching position for a summer bridge program at Mountain Pointe. Looking back on the last oh, probably about six years of my life it's safe to say I worked veerrry hard to get where I'm at. The only true regret I suppose I can claim is that I really didn't enjoy the ride all that much. I was a bit too intense, a bit self-absorbed, and definitely a little too goal oriented. In Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, Morrie quotes a man who once said "Love is the only rational act." If such a thing is true, I can't help but wonder why it is we all live so irrationally. The vast majority of my own actions over most of my life have not been love based. In fact, it is often sometimes difficult to understand what love really means when even love between two people is often selfish and sensual.
But to avoid that massive tangent, my point is that I hope this next chapter somehow reflects my learning from that lesson; that I won't make excuses for my rather grumpy attitude but will instead make decisions that avoid that path altogether.
If there is anything I am good at, it's probably "planning ahead." I mean this in the sense that I evaluate where I want to be so far down the line. Generally speaking, I give myself credit for making things happen too. Still, just because one follows a map doesn't mean they took the best route to the destination. Whether one takes life as an adventure or as a possession to be controlled, it still has an expiration date, and to know this, to actually be ready for this mentally, I think, implies that there is some sort of understanding of priorities in life. Morrie mostly discusses how we live so very trivially in terms of our priorities and vision. Inherently we all know what is good; we all know that our attitude and approaches make the difference. One man digging holes is miserable because it's hard manual labor; another sees it as his worthy contribution to the world's well being. He sees it as a job someone's got to do, and it's the job he's chosen to do. It tires him out, and it gives him strength. It lets him work with his hands and think about life. To him, it is no more or less worthy a task than the man who makes decisions at the highest tier of the corporate world because his perspective on priorities are different. The groupthink of our culture today can't really understand this approach to living because it doesn't promote its values. What is good is not necessarily important because the truth is our priorities lie on us, and no one is going to pay attention to me if I don't do it myself, right? I really hope having literally over a hundred students that I'm responsible for pulls me somewhat out of this mentality.
Teaching is one of those professions that as they say "you don't do for the money." I almost think I'm happier that way. Something about teaching forces you to find intrinsic value in your everyday job. You could go to Princeton or ASU and they'll start you at the same pay. If you can't learn to see the less tangible rewards you don't tend to stick around. Those who do usually end up pretty bitter. I like to think I've paid my dues in terms of fostering that attitude though. I don't want to be that way anymore. I'd rather work towards some sort of understanding and purpose on life. To do this I suspect is going to require an overhaul of my value system, which I can only hope comes with the pages ahead. In the mean time, there's not much left to do but read on.

Originally posted Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Compass

Today I took a little hike. Ok, I took a damn long hike up Superstition Mountain. In fact, it was probably a bit more than I could handle. As circumstance would have it, I ended up having the weekend free from what was supposed to be a climbing trip in Flagstaff. Given the free time and my determination not to have my whole weekend shot by the various events, I decided to stubbornly trek out on my own.
As I got about two-thirds the way to the top I really ran out of steam. I found myself pretty tired about every thirty feet of climbing. Granted I'd been literally stuck on a Stairmaster on steroids for the last hour, but I was too close to give up. So I ventured on, made it to the top, wandered around the flat iron (as they call that big massive piece that juts out on the south side) and eventually started my climb back down.
Now, my intentions weren't simply to climb the mountain. I was hoping to relax a little at the top, take some very valuable time to think as I sat literally miles away from civilization. Instead I rested, took in the view a little, got bored, and decided to head down. As I reached the bottom, it occurred to me that all that thinking I was hoping to do totally went out the window. It wasn't that I was hoping to contemplate the meaning of life or that sort of thing, but I wanted to simply take some time to think about things that are going on in my life and what they mean... where it's really all headed. Perspective, if you will. As the day went on and I felt the effects of fatigue, sunburn, and soreness, I started making some connections with what just happened and where my head really is.
I recently went to Yosemite. It's one of the most beautiful places I expect I will ever see. Yet, the whole time I was there, I simply couldn't take it all in. I could capture as much as I wanted with a camera, I could stare at it all till I was blue in the face, but I just couldn't make sense of the beauty. I had no gauge, no perspective. What did it really mean to me?
In the last few years I've really been struggling with my faith. Not that I've gone evil or anything, but I haven't taken any real time to "talk to God" or think about my salvation. What this hike taught me is that sometimes we need to slow down, sacrifice our desire to see things accomplished, in order to really even admire or benefit from those accomplishments already made. I've been living life way too fast in the last three or four years to pay any attention to the scenery flying by me. I was so damn tired from my hike I had no juice left in me to consider the sight that lay before me. The same goes for pretty much most of what I've accomplished lately, right down to my friendships.
Considering all this, it's easy to say (and I have used this excuse before) that it's just where I'm at in life. Sorta "the age of not believing" if ya want a vintage quote from Bed Knobs and Broomsticks. But the truth is I'll have to shift gears here eventually... and soon. I think I have a habit of working, of productivity. I can't just sit there and watch television, I can't just let a day go by without at least thinking I should be cleaning up something or running errands or paying bills. Perhaps this is me just coping with what life really is. That'd really suck.
I don't think so though, and I think that's where faith comes into play. I guess I consider it a compass so to speak. It doesn't actually guide you anywhere, but it gives you a sense of bearing. You may not always be headed north, but it always lets you know in which direction it is. I've been having a lot of trouble really figuring out where my mind is headed. Sure I've got my whole life planned out before me, but most of that has nothing to do with how I live, or whom I live it for.
Although the hike was a good one, I probably would have been just as happy with Telegraph Pass in South Mountain. I would have taken maybe an hour or so to do it and I would have been back down and in the pool by twelve. Perhaps I would have slept the rest of the day away. Perhaps taking it easier would have helped me pick up that rather new looking book I keep in the top drawer of my nightstand. Hopefully this lesson has some sticking power. In the mean time, I think I'll take this rare occasion of enlightenment to get to bed at a decent hour.
Cheers folks.

Originally posted Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Psalm of Life

A PSALM OF LIFE - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Originally posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007

365.26 days (approx.)

Now for the post Christmas madness of returning gifts, returning home, returning order... or something resembling such. And in this no doubt joyous season, have any of us gotten through with any more insight to gratitude, giving, family or faith? One hopes we all might have taken something away that can enrich the year and years to come. Although we are all busy with goodbyes and whatnot, I encourage some reflection on the 360-something days we just survived. I know it's been one hell of an experience for me.
I guess this was more a year of sacrifice for me than it was living. One of those years ya look back on and realize that, without those trials, you could have made a whole lot more mistakes in life. In short, some pretty cheap prices for some pretty big lessons. I learned that happiness is a state of mind or an outlook about things more than it is a status or material standard. In other words, we make it ourselves and sitting around waiting for that happiness to come is fruitless. We're indefinitely our own worst enemies when you consider that we are completely in control of our viewpoints and opinions. We can't always help initial reactions to things, but we can help our perceptions and ultimately how we feel about them.

I learned that faith isn't always something you just have, but sometimes an actual pursuit of something. It's kinda like how Will Smith described happiness in his recent film "The Pursuit of Happyness." He wondered if happiness is actually something that is simply to be pursues instead of reached or obtained. I can't say in the case of happiness that's really how I feel, since if happiness were really something you could only just chase but never really obtain, there'd be no point. I think what Jefferson meant about happiness was that one must build their own happiness. America is a land of opportunity, not success. We have the right here to create our own sense of happiness, which is really the only way one can reach it. Faith is the belief that such a pursuit will actually bear fruit.

In church there was a few lines about how one has really two choices, to believe in Jesus, or to reject him. Those who don't care to really even consider it, or just avoid the subject, have made a choice as well. They consent to neither and since the choice is something or nothing, they, in fact, choose nothing. So, faith is following a path with an uncertain destination. Many of us walk paths, pursue direction in life not knowing where they lead. Most of us, if we ever really stop and think about it, probably have reservations about religion and "faith." The Bible sure can sound pretty sensational sometimes, and even if we throw our hearts into the belief completely, there is an expectation that following this belief leads to something.

It now just occurs to me how much motive can play in one's pursuit of salvation and happiness. Do we all ultimately pursue these things for ourselves? Are we all "good Christians" because we, "I", want to get to heaven? I think Jesus did his everlovin' best to try and relay the message that we are all connected, and we have to let go of personal sense before we can really start purifying our motives, so to speak. We love because of what others offer in our lives or make us feel. We believe because of the promises made to us if we believe. It's all a little selfish. The act of giving freely is almost impossible considering personal sense. Perhaps as long as others are getting more out of the gesture than oneself, the act is worth its weight.

I often wonder if I'm getting my fair share of fruit out of my efforts. Is everything I do worth it for what I'm getting out of it? When I work, I'm often feeling like I work harder than I should for my reward. Sometimes I feel the same about the efforts I make to the ones I love. But something then occurs to me that I have to love what it is I'm doing for them just as much. It all comes down to the process, not the results. We live life being good because doing so is what should bring us joy, not the outcome. Happiness, as a concept, is misunderstood if the pursuit itself isn't the bringer of happiness. Heaven is probably not a whole lot better than our own perceptions allow us to imagine. If we spend our lives being miserable, well, how the hell are we supposed to know what harmony and bliss are? To a degree, I think Hell and Heaven are based on what we've allowed ourselves to experience here.

With all the beliefs one can have, there really isn't much choice but to just have faith and follow one. Choose a path and see where it goes. There's a ton more pontificating I could do here, but I'm really just hoping others take something from this, or think a little about their experience.

Originally posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Post-Semester Reflections

A few days ago anticlimactically marked the end of my semester at school. Again I piled an immense amount of responsibility on my lap, resulting in five frantic months of tardiness and aggravation. So this is me breathing for the first time this year.
I've finally had a chance to look up from the pages in front of me, and redirect my focus on life itself. It's strange to look back on the past and see how far I've come. It really makes me wonder where I'll be in a few years. I'm still sorta figuring out what matters to me from day to day at this point. As the routine of family, career, mortgage, and age begin to show their potential or materialize; I can't help but wax a bit philosophical. It doesn't do to just accept the terms. There is a solution, a reason to life. I don't kid myself that the details matter of course, but to exist at all begs for reason. We don't build anything, create anything without reason, be it conscious or not. Sometimes the act of creation is the reason itself, or perhaps expression. Is it really right there in front of me? Should I really even worry about it?
I'm painfully aware that regardless of my ability to see or understand a purpose in my being, I will continue to be and live and think. But what about purpose? Numerous people at work have mentioned that I should stick in retail management, get my own store, and run with that. I don't know. Something pulls me away. Just because a person finds a talent, a knack, doesn't mean that this is what they should do. In other words, ability does not necessitate function. Teaching is something I regard as being a fulfilling process. I feel like when I go home, I'll feel good about the heart I pour into my classroom, even if it's lost on the students. I could care less that I down stock, or remerchandise something in my store to make it look better. I go home knowing I'll be able to keep my house, that's about it. What I want isn't a living, because it really isn't living. I want a purpose; something I have chosen to do that leaves my fulfilled. Materially I don't really think there is one right answer, one right path to be taken for each person, but I do believe there is only one spiritual path. Life is not a question with an infinite number of answers. There is only one. I habitually scrutinize those material paths though, and this has led to a negligence of spiritual growth. I will need to address this as time goes by.
On another note, I am very excited about future prospects. Social doors are opening a bit, not to mention a very powerful force slowly laying the foundations of what could be the rest of my life. Lots of learning to do though and lots of time required to know for sure. I guess in the long run whether the investments pay off or not, I will have the experience.

Originally posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wasting Time

In my continued attempt to embrace life and love I have found myself questioning the limitations of time. That I should be given an arbitrary period of time to express life seems contradictory to my being in the first place. Why am I not given choice of time if this is my life to live? If I am here to express life, God, or make spiritual choices, why am I not given the ability to choose the length of time I have to make those choices or express those ideas?
I've spent a lot of time "planning" my life. Well, comparatively a lot of time. Somehow my plans have grown to rather epic proportions, at least to the point where the process of reaching theses goals I have planned seems to rob me of the life I'm planning for. I guess more to the point, the plans I've made have started to become more of an investment than I'm willing to make. One cannot enjoy the fruits of one's labors if one is too numb or tired to recognize them. Not to mention the good ol' adage of "ya can't take it with you." I suppose that could apply to our experiences too huh? Maybe it's a moot point as to whether or not my life is defined by accomplishments or experiences. If we can't take those either then where does it really leave us anyway? I (nor can most I suppose) can't claim to know the answer. But I do know that the search has become that much more important to me. In other words I'm a little less concerned with the achievements or experiences as I am with finding a perspective to value these things. That requires slowing down and backing off from all of those plans, opting out of a few experiences now and then.

Sometimes I feel as if what I'm doing is a mapped detour in my life, as if it's part of the process to get me somewhere else. Nothing like predestination or anything like that, just kinda a required process of growth, to be taken as I wish. That, along with the fact life goes on whether I like it or not, sort of keeps me in focus. Personal sense is usually what gets me upset about things. My lack of satisfaction with my condition in life remains so long as I feel that I'm not adequately expressing life itself. In other words, I'm wasting time - perhaps not in terms of accomplishments or experiences, but in spiritual growth and understanding.

Recently I've begun the lesson of learning that, although we all have our own struggles in life, and our own issues to handle, we, indeed, have each other for support. Perhaps we will never be able to solve each other's problems, but we can be one another's comfort through those tough times. The key is not being afraid to help and knowing when to ask for it.

I still don't understand why we've only given a limited time here. It seems to put a pressure of performance on us - to "make the most of it" or "live like you were dyin'." Whether or not that really gets us anywhere in terms of our real purpose I couldn't say. Maybe we are just here to enjoy the ride. If that be the case I suppose I should ask myself what I'm doing wrong.

Originally posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Thoughts for the Occasion

It's been a while since I've taken time to post anything here, so I thought I'd pontificate for a bit for those who tune in. I went to my mother's church this morning, always an interesting experience. They have a new pastor who's pretty good. He's very funny and his messages are relatively comprehensive. Today's service was on the difficulty of believing in Jesus resurrection. His major point was that learning can only go so far. Being told about the resurrection can hardly be grounds for faith. His argument was that we need experience, using Thomas, one of Jesus disciples, as an example. Thomas didn't believe Jesus had returned even when ever other disciple said so. He said he needed to feel Jesus wounds, see him in person, to believe it. For us, the problem with this is, well, such an opportunity isn't possible. The pastor's point was that we need to allow ourselves the possibility to believe and experience something to prove it. Those who keep their hearts closed wouldn't even recognize a spiritual experience if it happened.
I liked the sermon for what it was worth, but I found it interesting that the whole point of Jesus resurrection wasn't really hit on. Most of us see his mortal suffering as a way of suffering for our sins. In other words, he took the rap. I never quite looked at it this way. I have always viewed the crucifixion of Jesus as the ultimate demonstration of Spirituality over material sense. Basically what that means is that his demonstration of rising from the dead gave proof of our spirituality. It was a validation of his spiritual teachings by which we, in following that path, are saved. Now this concept of being "saved" is also a bit touchy. If God is All, then there's nothing but God for us to be saved from, right? Well, actually, no matter what concept you use, there is always such thing as the "absence of," or at least, the concept itself. Jesus gave us a path to spiritual one-ness with God, which translates into a sense of savior. This still contains a concept of sin however, since sin, by definition, is basically a rejection or separation from God. I suppose there can be some emphasis on the suffering as well, but since Jesus showed us that, despite all the suffering, he was able to rise again, there seems a lesser emphasis on this point. Perhaps this is just how far I am able to see it.
One way or another, the holiday's purpose of celebration shouldn't be lost. In its purest sense, Easter is about Hope. We celebrate it as the day Jesus rose from the dead to save us all, or at least provide opportunity of savior. Thus, it is a matter of hope, a hope that there is something beyond this realm, that there is redemption for our own sins and suffering. Hope is one of the most powerful tools of faith and love, so, considering this, today is actually pretty darn important. Pass the pie will ya...

Originally posted Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Tin Man

Every time I spend any amount of time with my family, I am reminded of some of the things that caused me to run away. No, I didn't literally run away, but I escaped. Although the environment was loving (mostly), the conditions were, by no means, healthy. Everyone has issues they carry. When I spend time with my family, it seems to shift my perspective on my own issues. It kinda gives me insight to where they all stem from and where I'm headed with them.
I know I often appear rather high strung. I have become increasingly aware of this fact, although I'm still at a loss as to how I might resolve the situation. Maybe using smaller words...
I feel like a ghost in my own house right now. The emptiness isn't really in the house though. It's in me. Somehow the image of the tin man from The Wizard of Oz comes to mind. He was found rusted in the woods on the side of the road though. I'm still busy rusting in the middle of nowhere. Both of us are, at any rate, metaphorically hollow. Some say I need faith, or some sort of religious direction to fill the void. Perhaps. But my mind is steeped with questions that seem too hard to answer. They overwhelm me to the point where I want to disappear altogether. What a pitiful cry for help.

On a different note... I was promoted to a keyholder position today. I wasn't all that impressed with the numbers but finances will be a bit less of an issue. Is this success or enslavement? Suddenly it just occurred to me that I've never actually asked myself how I want to live in this moment. I don't have much choice if we're talking minutes or even days, but what do I want to do next week? A date maybe? A hike or even an art project? How bout making some actual "me" time? No more therapy sessions, no self-involved conversations. I need to learn to listen and chose my words wisely. On that note I suppose I should head to bed.

Every day is another chance and reason to express gratitude.

Originally posted Friday, March 3, 2006

Altitude Sickness

It's been some time now since I allowed myself a bit of time to write something here. Besides the business of the season, I have been moving into my new home and slowly setting things up along with starting a pretty demanding semester at school. Needless to say between work, school, and running errands, I've had little time to actually inhale. But be the conditions as they may, I will survive.
There hasn't been all that much time for reflection lately... kinda starts taking it's toll after a while. I've begun to feel as if some things are spinning out of control. It's like swinging a bag of marbles around too fast. Eventually the bag breaks and the marbles scatter. Then you're left with an empty bag and well... no marbles to play with. Not to mention a big mess to clean up.
Of all questions to ask, I've begun asking myself where do I go from here. I have my own place, I've managed to keep priorities moving, but what's next? I've warned myself not to complicate life so much that I trap myself in my own machinery, but here I am... feeling trapped. Still, this is but a moment of pessimism within the natural state of hope.
I've always been very good about planning for the future. Or at least meeting my goals. Unfortunately, a lot of them recently have been along the lines of climbing mountains. What I mean by that is I'm working my way up to something. The pisser is I haven't really planned for the descent. No one stays on top, at least not forever. I sure as hell don't want to. Thin air you know, hard to breathe. One step at a time I suppose. I just don't want to end up the fool on the hill...

The Beatles -
Fool on the Hill

Day after day, alone on the hill,
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still.
But nobody wants to know him,
They can see that he's just a fool.
And he never gives an answer .....

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down.
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning around.

Well on his way, his head in a cloud,
The man of a thousand voices, talking perfectly loud.
But nobody ever hears him,
Or the sound he appears to make.
And he never seems to notice .....

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down.
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning around.

And nobody seems to like him,
They can tell what he wants to do.
And he never shows his feelings,

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down.
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning around.

Originally published Saturday, January 28, 2006

Our Own Little Worlds

We all seem to live in our own little worlds. No matter how much effort we make to see things as a whole, take in every perspective and try to make sense of what we see, we are still bound by the eyes we see through. When we try to see things from someone else's point of view all we really do is shift our natural perceptions, but we are still bound by them, and we'll still see it our own way.
Everyone screws up. We make mistakes because we live in a flawed consciousness. I fcuk up regularly. I mean well of course. I like to think that makes the difference... at least to me. Others may not care.
For some reason I'm at a point where I really don't feel like writing these things anymore. Sure I could have tons to say, but beyond entertainment value I don't kid myself that anyone really cares. I really don't know. I haven't found it yet.
Although it's rapidly becoming an overplayed song, Jack Johnson has got one out I like called "Good People." The whole thing pretty much poses the question of where have all the role models and positive influences in our media and society gone. No shit. I know there are other meanings in the song, but you get the picture.
Blame it on capitalism, blame it on consumerism. The whole mentality of "I want" or "what's next" is very powerful nowadays. Of course, once again, this is all how I see it. And I am a victim too. Oh how true this is. Me and my house, and my retail management, like I need this shit. My only saving grace with it all is that I don't completely feel like it's all for me. But one way or another, no matter what we do, I guess it really all seems to be for "me." That damn personal sense is there to stay.
So what I'm getting at is that, since we are stuck with our own perceptions about things, all we can do is look to our hearts for guidance. We are all out for ourselves, but it is possible to gain from sacrifice. I had some jerk today make a real sarcastic comment to me when I was unable to bargain with him on a price of an item he wanted. I could have simply walked away, left him looking elsewhere, just as miserable as when he walked in. I helped him though, gave him a reasonable discount, and off he went. Chances are he was still miserable when he left, but that was a result of his own perception. Still, I at least saw that what I had done was exercise some emotional restraint and compassion for this poor asshole who couldn't get out of his own miserable way.
So when I think of Jack Johnson's song, I tend to think what he's really asking is where has all the compassion gone. This is not to say that I consider myself, by any means, a good person. I'm just as selfish a jerk as any of them most of the time. But the difference, if there is any, is in the effort. I do think about these things, I try and like outside myself sometimes. Bad shit happens to everyone, the rain falls equally on the just and unjust. One sees miserable weather, and the other sees a cycle of seasons and new life. One sees a sunless sky, the other sees the answers to someone's prayers.
But life often moves too fast for us to see any of this. What we've begun to see is simply that it's raining - maybe it will flood, maybe the drought is over - maybe there'll be accidents on the road. We may see beautiful sunsets, we may even acknowledge them, but will we stand in awe and wonder where our capacity to perceive such beauty comes from? Will we look up at the stars and wonder how vast the universe must be, or what eternity really is?

Well... I used to anyway.

Originally posted Wednesday, November 23, 2005


For some reason I decided I felt like randomly writing my thoughts on God. This could take some time...
I remember going to Sunday school and being taught that God is Love. Stuff like, "God takes care of us, He loves us, we are His creation (children), etc." Still, from a philosophical standpoint I have always found myself at odds with "Christians." Strangely enough I was raised with, and still have, a Christian slant to my beliefs. I can't, as of yet, refer to them as faith because I haven't gotten that far. What has always gotten me, though, is the lack of logic, the lack of understanding that I tend to find in those more devoted to their faith. Many people are told what to believe, and at some point, whether it be through a tragedy or some other emotional event, people decide that their faith is the truth. It helped them through somehow, gave them a sense of strength to move on. I don't necessarily believe that having a faith is required to reach the same point though, but it often seems in this manner that people find devotion.
Some say that faith is an individual thing since we are all given our own individual perceptions, but I can safely say I think that's crap. If that were true the worst "sinner" in the world could possibly be just as righteous as the most saintly, as long as it fits his or her sense of righteousness. Majority beliefs tend to win out in those debates. People, as a majority, mutually agree on some things.
I think there's only one truth. Just like in math there is one right answer and everything else, despite how close it may be, is wrong. My debates with people often involve a lot of questions the other person can't answer without using quotes from the Bible or some source that simply told them what the answer was. My problem with this is that they can't answer why I should consider any of those sources reliable. In other words, why should I believe the Bible? Why do they think their pastor's interpretation is correct? I am very open to answers if they make sense, but so far people just use "faith" as their cop-out. In my own quest for truth, I've come up with some beliefs of my own, many of which can, in fact, fit into most Christian denominations, but generally are difficult to accept due to the extended implications.
For one thing I have never really considered God a person, place or thing. In fact, God as I define it, is everything. More on that later. Basically what I'm saying is that most of the time God is personified when we speak about God. We refer to God as Him because it comes with a more respectful context than It, but the issue is we tend to then view God in our image as opposed to us in God's. Problem with this is that now we sound like we're giving ourselves credit for God's creation instead of visa versa. I'm not saying people have it wrong, but I often notice that the synonyms and analogies don't really go far enough to explain what God really is. Starting at the base of it all, one might ask if there is even a God to begin with. Well, let's first look at what we use to argue against God's existence. Science is usually where our cache of arguments lie, despite the fact that science is, in fact, self-destructive. Eventually science, as it itself explains, must come to the conclusion that something at some point was created from nothing. An event, a physical element, whatever it may be, somehow happened or was created with no trigger whatsoever. Science's whole goal is to prove that everything is finite, despite the fact that it's only solution to the existence of the universe is that it is infinite, or infinitely cycling. So, science must eventually contradict itself, thus causing it's own self-destruction. Taking that into account, let's discard the idea that science holds a challenge to the question of God's existence.
What I've realized thinking about this argument, is that proving God's existence is really just a matter of defining God. Since we technically can call God anything we want, we could automatically prove there is one. I can say God is Love, and we know love exists in one form or another, so, we've basically given enough proof. But that's not too impressive, since we obviously need a bit more than that justify having a God at all.
We credit God with our creation, with everything that exists. God is, in this case, in everything. One could thus argue that God is, in fact, everything. Okay, so that doesn't really mean much. This physical world is finite, individual lives come and go, the Earth itself supposedly has an expiration. Maybe God "flows" through everything, but if God IS everything, then basically God isn't just the physical thing - God is the concept. God is Idea. If every chair, or anything that could remotely resemble or be functionally used in the same manner, were destroyed, the idea of a chair would still exist. It doesn't require the mind of Man to keep an idea in tact. All ideas are forever there to be discovered. God is, thus, the same concept on a universal scale. God is Mind, not as a brain or consciousness, but the concept of knowledge, of cognizance. God is the concept and manifestation of Life. We then, as God's creation or reflection, represent God like our bodies represent our own spirits, which in turn are to God like drops of water are to the ocean or rays of light to the Sun. An ocean or the Sun, however, still exist regardless of whether the ray or water molecules are acknowledged. Even if we do not physically represent God (individually or otherwise), we can in consciousness or idea, a.k.a Spirit.
These are just thoughts, and I continue to develop them and consider their authenticity as I apply them to my observations and experiences.
Holy crap I just wrote a novel.
Feel free to comment.

Originally posted Wednesday, July 20, 2005


As time goes by, life seems to get busier and busier. More responsibility often gives less time for just living. From a very early age, I was one of those kids who took on quite a bit of responsibility between school and personal life. Eventually I began to realize that things don't really get easier, so I made a point to try and have a general game plan in terms of direction in life. After I found myself dealing with some hardships both personally and in the workplace, I re-evaluated how exactly I wanted to live my life. I know I'm a family oriented type; I know I'd hate a desk job; I know I like to talk and discuss things. In high school I was always very critical of my instructors, often wondering what I'd do different. Teaching became a very real possibility when I considered how the profession fit into my ideal life. I would have lots of family time with summers off and holidays that match student’s schedules. I could get involved in school activities if I wanted or just focus on the class. The one shortcoming was the finances. Fortunately I have some relatively finance savvy family members who have given enough advice to help me solve that issue. I've taken my time with my education to try and build those assets that will supplement my income enough to live a comfortable life, with or without family.
Ultimately having this whole game plan comes down to the hopes that someday I can begin to actually understand life better. Yes, I could just live, but an unexamined life isn't worth living (thanks Socrates). I don't think our existence should be taken at face value, but it seems as the world has advanced and become more complex, we've gotten caught behind the webs we have woven to advance our standards of living. Many of us twenty-somethings, and even high schoolers, often lose sight of the big picture, never to really regain perspective after image, socializing, material possessions, and independence take hold of our focus. Sure it can be a good time, and maybe that is all that matters, but when considering we all have an expiration, considering there might be a broader reason or a better way, one might stop to ponder a bit. These bodies decay, the character doesn't. Our lives will end, but our spirits (or something) remain. Knowing this might not necessarily raise our standards of living, but it'd most likely set them.

Originally posted Friday, June 17, 2005

Next Please

by Philip Larkin

Always too eager for the future, we
Pick up bad habits of expectancy.
Something is always approaching; every day
Till then we say,

Watching from a bluff the tiny, clear,
Sparkling armada of promises draw near.
How slow they are! And how much time they waste,
Refusing to make haste!

Yet still they leave us holding wretched stalks
Of disappointment, for, though nothing balks
Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked,
Each rope distinct,

Flagged, and the figurehead with golden tits
Arching our way, it never anchors; it's
No sooner present than it turns to past.
Right to the last

We think each one will heave to and unload
All good into our lives, all we are owed
For waiting so devoutly and so long.
But we are wrong:

Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
A huge and birdless silence. In her wake
No waters breed or break.