Impermanence

March 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm (Uncategorized)

I start work tomorrow! Very excited to get down to business. One last day of not working, though, so here’s something that struck a chord recently.

This photo was the top post on Reddit for a while last night, and I really loved it.

Image

 

I guess somebody found an overgrown cemetery in the woods took this rather poignant picture. Honestly, though, what do we fear more than being totally forgotten? People are such social creatures that it is very hard to conceive of being gone in every sense (except perhaps your bones in the ground–but those will be gone at some point as well). We want to believe that we’ll live forever, or be famous, or be remembered, but the fate of almost every person on this planet is to eventually be a nothing.

Not totally nothing, perhaps, because the things we do will have ripple effects outward into eternity–but at some point they cease to be notable. Which brings me to impermanence, anatta, and the idea of non-self. If one is trying to get rid of the ego–the source of unhappiness, desire, greed, etc, then a big part of the process is coming to terms with the fact that this grave will be you one day, that you are just a piece of the cosmic whole and there is nothing eternal or lasting about you. I think that is why the idea of a soul is so prevalent–it’s very comforting. Who doesn’t want to last forever on some level?

To my mind, though, there is no real proof for the existence of anything permanent about us. How I wish there were! I would rather try to figure out the truth, though, than blindly cling to the improbable. I’m open to the my mind being changed, but based on the current evidence my soul seems to be a figment of my imagination. No, I am made of stardust and chemicals and electricity, and eventually my batteries will run out and I will go back into the cycle of everything. People like to call it Lion King-esque sometimes when I tell them.

I don’t think that this necessarily precludes the idea of a God, just one as we profess to understand. Maybe God is dead, because they could not live together, even if they made us. Everything has its season, its beauty, and then it ends. And although that offends the ego on many levels to my mind it is beautiful. We are all streaking comets. Brief and glorious. At the end of the day wanting more than that is just being greedy. Enjoy what time you have, do the best you can do, and when it is time to go, go. I don’t want to die, but it’s going to happen and I will be over. Eventually I will exit the memories of those I knew and loved, and the universe will go on. And that’s OK.

 

Embrace the emptiness and live in the moment. I am a work in progress–but I think I will always be.

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Feminism & Me

March 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm (Uncategorized)

First, let me say I used & as opposed to “and”  in the title because I love ampersands. I have always had an abiding affection for them. Everyone else should, too. Anyway, feminism.

International Women’s Day was a few days ago, and for the last couple days feminism has been percolating in the back of my mind. Specifically, what does it mean to be a feminist man? Am I a real feminist? Shit, what if I do something wrong or sound like an asshole? I have some friends who are serious feminists and I don’t want to be insensitive…am I looking at this the right way? Am I allowed to have a viewpoint on this as a straight white male? I came to the conclusion that only someone who really was a feminist would worry so much about whether or not they are one. You can decide by the end of this post what you think.

The first thing I wrestle with often is how to define feminism. Here’s my take: I am a feminist because I think women have just as much value as men. I do my best to treat people the same no matter who they are (well it’s sort of a sliding scale–if you’re nice I’ll try to be your friend and if you’re kind of an asshole I’ll probably try to avoid you). I am an advocate and an ally whenever I can be, and I try to move past my limitations as someone who has traditionally been the neutral idea of a person in our culture. I am open minded.

It’s hard sometimes because I feel like I am being constantly judged by a certain segment of the population to have to “prove” that I am not “like all other men.” I get kind of offended when I see people use blanket statements to describe all 18-25 year old straight men. I then think to myself “that’s what people have been doing to minority groups and women forever!” So friends I would encourage you to wait until you know a person to judge them–they might surprise you. Of course this makes sense, but it applies always, to everyone. It’s something I have to remind myself of, and something I think is worth thinking about often.

Another thing I struggle with is feminism and art. There is a lot of great literature/music out there that either implicitly or explicitly runs counter to treating everyone the same. I love a lot of it. I think there is a way to enjoy those things without embracing an anti-feminist or anti-equality ethos, but it requires reflecting on what you read/watch/listen to and thinking critically about what you’re doing. This is something that worries me, though, because I understand the arguments for not supporting (music mostly) things that could be considered on some levels anti-women. I really like some of those things, though, and I’m going to continue to listen to them. I wonder if that makes me a bad person sometimes.

At the end of the day I think that it comes down to how you live life, and the behavior you tolerate from other people. You have to live in a way that is sustainable and allows for growth, love, and life for everyone. I think that’s what it means to be a feminist. I don’t believe a kind of caste system applying to anyone regardless of gender identity, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, or anything else. I think saying there are no differences between people is disingenuous, but that doesn’t mean those differences are particularly meaningful in deciding who we are or what our worth is. 

Being a better person is something I’ll keep working towards in my life always, and I think to some degree that falls under the umbrella of feminism. I think feminism is the normal state of mind of most rational people (or it should be); so then you have rational views and misogyny as your choices in life. Awareness of the inequalities in our society and striving to make them better is something we should all be moving to. Ride the wave of progress!

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A too-lengthy brief history of me and music

March 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm (Uncategorized)

Saw Camas High School’s production of “Into the Woods” for the second time today at their matinee–they did a pretty good job. That wasn’t too surprising, they did a solid job last weekend when I saw it as well. It made me realize that I need some more Sondheim in my life, and since tonight is devoid of any social plans I am drinking some beers and listening to Sweeney Todd. I’ve mentioned it before, but being home is a difficult transition sometimes for an extrovert. That’s not what I’m thinking about tonight, though.

Being in that theater brought back a lot of great memories. It made me realize just how much I miss musical theatre. A quick Google search revealed that there are auditions for Les Miserables in Vancouver in June…maybe I should think about preparing something. It’s always a little daunting when you have no idea what the organization is like, but the worst that can happen is I don’t get cast getting cast and things are poorly run. An opportunity to live and learn. There are absolutely no details, but it’s something to keep an eye on in the next couple months.

Singing (by itself) is one thing, and I absolutely love choral works. Musical theatre, though–it feels like the only way I can really act. By that I mean that I can be OK on stage in a stage show, I can put in the work and create something that stretches me and that I can feel proud of, but only when I am singing can I get rid of myself and just channel the moment. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never done any acting, but there can be moments of realness, magical realness, if you let yourself feel them. Maybe it’s just my lack of training, but the walls seem to only melt away fully when I express via song. Is that crazy? I don’t know. I think we all have different triggers. After being around actors for so long I would think that I would have come to a more concrete conclusion.

I think what struck me most about being back in that particular theatre is how many memories I have of doing shows in Camas. I remember the moment I knew I would be on stage a lot for the rest of my life vividly. When I was at Skyridge in 7th grade, I was randomly placed in an elective class, “Drama.” I remember very little about the class, frankly, but I do remember having to read 12th Night as a class. I don’t remember what character I was assigned, who else was reading, or anything except how I felt when I was reading these lines. I felt so alive, it was amazing. I never wanted to let go of that feeling.

So I went out for two shows that year, and had a great time while understanding even then that they weren’t very good. Then the drama teacher left our middle school, and our choir teacher Mrs. Hamlin ended up taking over. I didn’t take any drama classes in 8th grade–in retrospect I’m not really sure why that was. I remember spending a lot of time working on the yearbook, so perhaps that was it. In any case it was announced that we were doing The Music Man that spring. I wasn’t going to audition–I didn’t sing, except maybe along with the radio sometimes. Not my thing. For some reason, though, I decided to audition the day of. Got in the show, loved it, and found a) a lifelong passion and b) a whole bunch of wonderful friends. Sometimes I think about how I close I was to not bothering, and I wonder how the whole course of everything in my life would be drastically different.

My freshman year we did Les Miserable at CHS, and I auditioned with a song from the Music Man. I literally did not know any other musical songs. “Gary, Indiana.” I remember being told by a couple of really cute senior girls that they thought I did really well and I just slid down in my seat, incredibly embarrassed. I thought they were being facetious. I didn’t sing. I got into the show, though, and it was an incredibly experience. That show gave me a lot of the confidence that has been my blessing/curse in the years between now and then. I can pinpoint the exact moment. I had ONE (count it, one) solo line in the entire show. I was determined not to screw it up. Practiced it ALL the time. So we’re running through the scene and I sing my line and a little bit after it we stop. Kank (our director) stops and says “Legs, that was really great,” and our Cosgrove (choir director) nods. It was that exact moment that I thought “maybe I can sing.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

I wonder if we are somewhat predestined to fall into our passions one way or another, but it’s hard to see me doing theatre and music like I have without that one chance elective. I still love 12th night (I’m super excited to see UI do it in the spring–what a fantastic excuse to get up to Moscow).

I tend to think that it wasn’t a given that I would find the music, because I didn’t get to it until later than many people and even now my understanding is dwarfed by most people who do it regularly. It’s given me a lot of extra confidence in myself, and shaped me in ways I can see and undoubtedly many more besides.

Be happy for the happy chance that has given you chances to fall into things you love. And if you haven’t found your passions yet, I encourage to keep on searching. Totally worth it.

 

 

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The Day I Accepted Jesus as my Personal Lord and Savior

March 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm (Uncategorized)

I don’t remember the exact day or year, although it definitely was in August. It was the kind of August heat that makes you almost dizzy when it mixes with the dust and smell of animals at the Clark County Fair. I must have been 11 or 12–old enough to wander away with my brother, but before cell phones or the ability to go to the fair in the first place without parental supervision. My father was around somewhere, probably talking with the Pop Warner recruiters at their table.

Thus Austin and I were allowed to roam freely, past tables full of things that were not free food and therefore meaningless. We come around a corner when a large brunette women, perhaps in her mid 40s, stops us. She greets us kindly (and there was some candy on the table, so I was predisposed to stop) and asks us if we’ve accepted Jesus as our personal lord and savior. I don’t recall exactly what I said, but it wasn’t a yes.

At this point it may be helpful to bring up the religious background (or lack thereof) I was raised in. People who already know me will have a sense of this, but I feel an explanation brings some clarity to the situation. I have always been drawn to the truth–science, religion, politics and philosophy have fascinated me for as long as I can remember (Over the years I have held many ill conceived beliefs, but the one constant is that I am willing to reexamine my viewpoints when presented with compelling evidence. If there is in fact a God, I am eternally grateful to have been endowed with that capacity. I digress). My mother grew up Catholic, my father not much of anything at all (he settled into atheism) and growing up I just never went to church. It was something that I understood that other people did, but we didn’t (nor did anyone in my close family, at least not regularly) so my standard of normal was having Sundays more or less free to do whatever. Football was the only obligation.

So when this woman asked me about Jesus, it was a simple enough matter to shrug and say that no, we hadn’t accepted him into our hearts and minds. So she pulls us behind the table, around this kind of half corner so she can get us alone. This naturally raises some warning bells in my young mind–thoughts of this woman stealing us from the fair arise rather quickly. She is earnest bordering on frightening. My brother and I recite something, declare that we are giving our souls to Jesus, she gives us tiny copies of the new testament and talks at us for a while. At this point I”m pretty convinced that she is going to kidnap me, but after what feels like an eternity she lets us go.

I bring this up not to say that Christianity is bad, or that Christians are strange (I don’t think that they as a group are any stranger than any of us), but to say that kids are malleable. I think that part of me was like, “wow this is an easy loophole into heaven, I’ll take it.” That the rest of my brain was planning escape routes is another matter, but I’m sure there was no harm intended. One thing my parents told me is to always ask questions. I think there is a way to develop a coherent understanding of Christianity without having blind faith. I think it makes ones faith more real. I know that I have a much more respect for people who are willing to engage in conversation about different viewpoints than I do for people who say “I’m right and you’re wrong, there is no room for conversation.” Let’s at least TRY to understand why someone might have a radically different worldview than you.

One more story about Christianity, while I’m on the topic. I had a physical science teacher (who was also a football coach) named Les Albert. He taught me about mass, force, work, and simple machines. It was like physics lite, with an emphasis on understanding how things work, if I remember correctly. Freshman year of high school was a long time ago. Mr. Albert was a very devout Christian, and I’m fairly sure he didn’t believe in evolution. He never pushed it in our faces, but after every test the next day we would watch this video series where a creationist would talk about why he thought scientific evidence pointed towards creationism (a link to one of his videos I found here: http://www.creationtoday.org/dinosaurs-and-the-bible-seminar-part-3/). We were always told that we didn’t have to believe it, but that he believed strongly in this stuff and wanted to present the other side of the argument. I can’t say that I was swayed (I’m half tempted to go back and watch these videos now to see what I think), but I did admire coach Albert for wanting us to see both sides. Because even though I think it’s kind of crazy to think that the world is 6,000 years old, and that there are mountains of scientific evidence telling us the earth is billions of years old, he wasn’t telling us what to think. He just was asking us to question if MAYBE something else was possible. I wasn’t swayed, but I enjoyed listening. Plus, we got to watch videos in class.

Anyway, after one of these videos on our way out the door someone asked how many people in the class were Christians, and like EVERYONE raised their hand. I remember distinctly being asked “What about you, Jordan?” To my dismay I answered that I was. I wish I could have told them what I would tell them now, that I don’t discount the possibility of God but that the evidence seems like it points in the other direction. That the Bible should be used as a philosophical tool and not as obtuse justification for your every prejudice. That I’m not really sure Jesus did all those things and that if he’s even mostly like the guy in the New Testament you probably wouldn’t like him very much. That the bible was written (and translated/re-translated) by men. That I respect your beliefs but this REALLY feels like peer pressure, guys.

But I didn’t. I said “yeah,” in a little voice.

Though when I think about it, it may have technically been true, because I accepted Jesus into my heart at the Clark County Fair.

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Angle of Repose

March 7, 2013 at 9:07 am (Uncategorized)

The thing I enjoy about learning most may be the random facts that stick in your head forever and seem to come up unreasonably often. Somewhere down on that list, though, is random associations that come up from time to time. For instance in my freshman year of college I took a class about natural disasters (and yes, it was exactly as awesome as you would think it would be). We at some point learned that on a given slope there is an “angle of repose,” an angle past which the slope is no longer stable and will fall. This morning as I was making coffee it came back to me since my mother mixes decaf and regular coffee in a bag (when you set it on the table it sort of forms its own little tiny hill). As I scooped out some coffee it upset the delicate balance of the hill, sending grounds tumbling down. And I thought to myself, “angle of repose!”

So, teachers, I do remember things you teach. Just at weird times.

We got some really cool new pieces in choir last night–I am consistently impressed by the sight reading abilities (and overall talent, really) of the people I get to sing with. I think choral singing, especially, is an overlooked skill at times. Lots of people can get up there and sing by themselves, but to fit seamlessly into a group is its own different kind of challenge. I know that it is not necessarily my forte. The fun part is improving, though, so I just want to continue doing that.

 

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.” —Ella Fitzgerald

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Spring Rain

March 6, 2013 at 11:06 am (Uncategorized)

Living in western Washington you get used to the semi-endless rain. We’ve been spoiled by a few nice days lately, but there is something rather pleasant about watching the rain fall from my window. I’m not sure whether it’s an innate feeling of mine or whether I’ve been conditioned by a lifetime of living in it, but either way I’m not complaining. Spring rain especially has its own feeling to it. It’s a different kind of drizzle than you see in the fall or winter. Maybe it’s because there’s a little more daylight, or because I know that summer is not as far away as it once was. It could be a construct I create in my mind. I posit, though, that spring rain is different.

I have a job interview this afternoon at 2 with the city of Vancouver about an event planning position. It’s part time so I’ll need to continue looking for another part time job if I get it, but it will be nice to be working again. You don’t realize how validating employment is (even in jobs you dislike or feel are menial) until you’ve been out of work for a while. It’s interesting as a person who has had great academic success to find that in the “real” world people don’t care about what your potential is as much as they care about what you have done. I can’t say I blame them; it takes much more work to evaluate potential than to look at a past body of work. So I am optimistic that if I get this job it will be a stepping stone to showcase my abilities, learn some new skills, and step forward into bigger and brighter things.

I think the danger in life is that we sometimes wait for things to happen to us, rather than making things happen ourselves. The world rewards boldness. It can be rather frightening at times, being bold. I’m not saying I’m a great example of it. I’m trying to be, though. Boldness not in the sense of charging heedlessly into this or that, but boldness by reaching out and taking chances, trying to meet new people, experience new things, and by challenging my own insecurities and fears.

 

In any case wish me luck/send me positive thoughts if that’s your thing, and hopefully you’ll be seeing me write about my new job soon.

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Cynicism

March 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm (Uncategorized)

“I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” —Carl Sandburg

 

The thing about cynicism is that it’s really easy. Cynicism requires that you consistently look for the worst of all possible worlds; that you are never surprised or have wonder because even the joys in life are filled with potential for something to go wrong soon. It’s a worldview that is convenient to hold because idealism sets you up for constant failure–the world will often let you down, or slap you in the face, or confirm that nightmares can come true as easily as dreams. You’re not wearing the armor the cynic uses to protect from a world that is not yet the world you see in your mind.

The thing about idealism, though, is that it allows you to experience the joys in life fully, embracing them and seeing them as springboards for even greater things yet to be realized. Idealists often turn into cynics, because after a person gets hurt enough they feel like they have no choice but to put on the armor. I can understand the impulse. I feel, however, that thinking that way is shortsighted.

That isn’t to say you shouldn’t be prepared. Idealism requires an understanding that while things are generally on an upward track in this existence, the arc of life is a long one and sometimes you cannot see the bend (or that it even appears to be heading downward!). I don’t know if there is a magical ratio of realism/pragmatism that has to be added into everyday affairs, but I do know that a positive attitude can put unfavorable situations in perspective.

In essence: stop searching for what you dislike about things and start looking for what you enjoy. We’re all just riding on a spinning little blue ball through space, and none of us get to be here long enough to spend our days being unhappy. I mean obviously I can’t force people to act one way or another, but our thoughts influence our emotions which influence our actions which in turn influences the world around us. So to some extent you get to control what happens to you, at least the little things within your grasp. Many small things=life.

In addition to that, think about how many assholes there are out there. Think about why they’re like that. Some of them are just naturally that way, but I would wager the the vast majority are lashing out because life has beat up on them. Why not ease the burden on one another? Kindness can cure the world, it just takes all of us. Which is a tall order, but not, I don’t think, an impossible one. We just have to start treating people like people. Fairly simple.

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Fears and Years

March 4, 2013 at 9:45 am (Uncategorized)

It is a gorgeous (albeit cold) morning here in Camas, Washington. Cold being a relative term of course–my Idaho friends would probably consider this rather balmy. But it is a lovely morning to drink some tea, read the paper, and try to kick the last of this cold that has been nagging me for the past several days.

It’s always a bit of an odd feeling when you’ve slept for almost 12 hours but it’s 8am. Puts your whole schedule off. I’m going to feel like it’s later than it actually is all day.

So, I’ve been doing this vegetarian thing again for a little while now and it’s been going pretty well so far–losing weight and eating less and healthier. I was eating the other day and doing that thing where you have an imaginary conversation in your head with someone just in case they decide to criticize you. I was telling them how I’m eating vegetarian to be healthier, and they were talking about protein and this and that and how it wasn’t really healthy, and I was trying to convince them that there are multiple dietary plans one can be on and still get a balanced diet. And at one point I realize that I will never convince this person to see things my way. It makes me sad but I’m not entirely surprised.

All of a sudden it struck me that I am afraid of getting old (this person was old that I was having the conversation with). Which is a weird realization to have during an imaginary conversation, but there I was. I realized what it was in my mind to become old, and it terrified me.  I think what I fear most about getting old is ceasing my search for the truth. I am afraid that inertia will take over and I will stop looking towards what is actually correct and settling into a comfortable ignorance of the facts. Many of you have probably heard Winston Churchill’s famous quote “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.” I love that quote for its reflection of human nature–not because I agree with it. We do in fact get more set in our ways as we get older–and that is terrifying. It means that truth has nothing to do with it. How frightening (and lazy) is it to eventually just keep on believing what you believe because asking questions can be tiring? I think many people do it. I think many people get lazy at a young age, too. It afflicts liberals and conservatives alike (although it is more prevalent in conservatism simply because of the nature of conservatism). I have never been, nor do I ever hope to be, an ideologue. I can reconcile my liberalism with pragmatism, and I can also understand that sometimes conservatives can have excellent ideas. We can find common ground and compromise. As you get older, though, it seems to me that many people have a harder time doing that. Not a comforting notion when you consider the age of many of our elected officials.

I talked a bit in yesterday’s post about how people change, and how it is unpredictable. I want to say that I will never stop questioning, but it’s so easy to become complacent. So it scares me. It’s something that you have to stay vigilant about at all times. It also worries me that so many people my own age are so apathetic. They can’t take 10 minutes a day away from their smart phones (or hell, even stay on their phones) to read up a little about current politics and stay informed. They can’t be bothered to write or call their representatives, or even vote. I work in politics, and I am consistently 15-30 years younger than anyone else in the room. Young people (ages 18-30) do not understand the power that we have. Politicians are afraid of us, because we can flip the entire game around. You don’t like partisan hacks in office? Vote for moderates. Vote for people who will compromise. Our generation could undo all of the polarization in a single election. It just takes getting informed. But we’re lazy. So if you’re reading this, stop being lazy. Stop seeing the world in black and white. So I guess I’m not being afraid of being old, I’m afraid of not staying young at heart forever. Some of us are already all wrinkly on the inside. It’s not too late to undo it, but it takes a conscious effort.

If you want to know more about politics or how to get involved, I can certainly try to be as helpful as possible. I will endeavor to be unbiased, and then I’ll set you on your own path so you can figure things out for yourself. I don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat, or anything else. The only way things will get better is if you set aside a little bit of your time to be a citizen of this fantastic country. Be an American. Get involved. Anything less means taking your citizenship for granted.

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Theories about Love

March 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm (Uncategorized)

There’s this story I like (and that I will not do justice) but it goes something like this: A senior monk and a young monk are going on a long journey, during which they have taken a vow of silence. They are a part of a strict order, and have many rules about what they can and cannot do. They are walking through the countryside and eventually come to a river crossing. A women is standing there, and she says that she needs help crossing the river. The older monk picks up the woman and puts her on his shoulders, and they cross the river. He puts her down and starts walking away, the other monk trailing behind. The young monk is furious because they are forbidden to have any contact with women at all. They continue walking for miles, with the young monk fuming. Eventually he stops the other monk and confronts him. “What were you thinking?! You know we are allowed no contact with women!” he shouts. The older monk replies: “I put her down on the other side of the river. How long have you been carrying her for?”

I like this story because it always makes me think about what I’m carrying around at any given time. Buddhism is about letting go–and philosophically it makes a lot of sense to me. You can’t live in the present if you’re constantly in the past (or the future). As much as I try to let go, however, I know that I am constantly carrying people from my past around with me.

Why write about this now, you ask? Well, when your parents go through a divorce you are forced to reevaluate your opinions about love and relationships–it just happens. What I once thought was forever is now not. The idea that “other people have marriage trouble, but not my family” is dead (and frankly has been for a while). It didn’t really become real to me, though, until I helped my dad move into his new apartment recently. So I sat down and thought a lot a whole bunch about life and love. I am tired of those ideas rolling around in my head, and so I have decided to write them down.

I guess that the first thing I would say is that writing about love in English is both fantastic and challenging because of the ambiguity of the word itself. I mean we do have other shades of love–infatuation, attraction, compassion, care, in love vs loving; but the word love encompasses all of that. You’re just supposed to know what version is meant purely on context. How ridiculous is that? So that makes it fun. I feel that the distinction between loving and being in love is a critical one that is often overlooked (and one that is necessary to understand). Spanish, for instance, has encantar, amor, and enamorarse.

In any case, love is complicated thing. So here is my first thought about love: you are capable of loving just about anyone, and I think that you should try to cultivate love for everyone. This isn’t a romantic type of love, but an awareness of the inherent worth of others. That kind of love I have talked about at length before and I am leaving for another time. It’s critically important, but it doesn’t speak to why we fall into or out of love with others, and is in this case not particularly helpful.

My second thought: My main idea about love goes something like this. Love is kind of like standing on the edge of a cliff and deciding whether or not to jump off. You can’t really help being on the edge of the cliff for whatever emotional factors, but where the choice lies is in taking that final plunge and saying “come hell or high water, I am jumping into what is over the edge of this thing.” I’ll be honest, every time I’ve jumped it’s eventually landed me in the briars, but for some reason I continue to believe that I will find the cliff that is bottomless where you keep on falling forever. I think where my metaphor goes astray is in the idea that you only jump once. It’s a decision you make everyday not to try to grab onto something else, but to let yourself keep falling. That can be scary, because you are falling. I am a fairly logical person, and love is by its nature illogical. So it can be scary.

My third thought: You never really stop loving the people you’ve already loved before. When I fall in love, I give a person a piece of my heart, and if they return the sentiment, they give me part of theirs. So if you can imagine this heart with chunks ripped out willy nilly here and there with patches of other hearts sown on in a few places you might understand how I see it. So my heart has this kind of quilt-like quality. But all the pieces of my original heart are with the people that I’ve given them to, and I can’t ever get them back. Love doesn’t go away, it just changes. It becomes platonic, or it gets a scab over it and hardens into pain or anger, but it doesn’t go away. The people you love leave imprints on you. They have literally ripped out chunks of you and sown their own bits on. You’re you, but different.

I have been lucky to have been in love several times in my short life. There were times when that love seemed like it might be forever, but eventually I found out one way or another that it wasn’t meant to be. I have been the one to break a heart, and the one whose heart has been broken. I like being able to have both perspectives, but either way it hurts like hell. I don’t think you can let that pain get to you, though. The only way love works is when you put your whole self into it (at least that’s my running theory, clearly my track record is littered with relationships that didn’t work out). You have to account for the fact that both of you are constantly changing. It’s like doing calculus on the trapeze, whether you are thinking about it or not. I guess what I mean to say is that love is easy and relationships are hard.

Personally, I am the kind of person who likes being in a relationship. Being single is fun in its own ways, but I enjoy having someone to have at the end of the day. It’s all a matter of finding the right person, though. I have been fortunate before to have not had a lot of time between one relationship ending and finding someone else who made me feel that spark. Being at home and being less social there are fewer opportunities to meet people, and so it might be a while before that person comes along. It’s probably “good for me” or something along those lines, but in all honesty I don’t like putting arbitrary timetables on things. Either things are right or they’re not, and it’s not a matter of waiting 3 days to call or x months to date again or what have you.

So, those monks had rules in place against women not because they are evil or romantic relationships are bad, but because for someone living a dedicated life moving towards enlightenment attachments distract from letting go. It’s not the other person but your own mind, constantly reliving moments and thinking in “what-ifs.” The older monk knew that, and he was capable of just carrying a person across a river. The younger monk was still working on it. For laypersons like myself I don’t doubt that my sometimes preoccupation with love gets in the way of me reaching nirvana anytime soon. However, so do about a billion other things in my life, so I’ll try not to assign undue weight to it.

Besides, relationships are fun. It’s the ultimate human experience. We are hardwired to love, to care about each other. The first smile, saying hello, the first kiss, the electricity you feel…that stuff is awesome. I am lucky enough to (knock on wood) get to experience it again someday, along with the transition into a stable loving relationship that comes later. And I’ll keep on doing it again until it works.

I wish I could tell you with 100% certainty that I’ll never get a divorce. Honestly, if you had asked me even a couple years ago, I would have told you there was no way–I would make it work. Even now my number is probably 95% sure I never will. I want to think that I am capable of understanding and loving a changing person while I change myself through the years. For better or worse, though, that number will never get to 100% again. Things happen, lives change, and people don’t always work out. I don’t think it’s any major flaw, it’s just being human. So cherish what you have, and remember that if you’re in love you have to work on it.

This is sort meandering, but so is love, I guess.

 

“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” –Orson Welles

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePatJIwB-sI

 

“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.” —Albert Einstein

 

 

 

 

“Come live in my heart, and pay no rent.” —Samuel Lover

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