Enlightened Conflict

wonder how the same thing can be both

February 7th, 2017

good bad best worst think do life be

==============

 

“I’m always finding humans at their best and worst.

I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both.”

 

————–

Death

<in “The Book Thief”>

=============

 

So.

 

This quote is said by Death.

 

Yeah.

Death is suggesting he considers humans beautiful … as well as everything else that we are … all the while resting comfortably in his chair awaiting the opportunity to end it all.

 

We all know we're going to die, but it's one of the few human experiences we don't like talking about. How can we change that?

I admit.

 

The thought seems slightly counter-intuitive, but I like thinking the thought that Death is a lot more complicated than we may think.

 

I like thinking that Death sees us … and assesses us … and maybe even judges us a little … as not one-dimensional things to say ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down.’

 

I like thinking of death as not some grim reaper but rather a thoughtful person who has a job to do. One who contemplates the fact that some days will be good and some days just won’t be so fun.

 

I like thinking of Death One who can see the best and worst … acknowledging that good things can happen to bad people and bad things can happen to good people.

 

And, I imagine, I like thinking of Death as … well … intelligent and not simply some mindless executioner wandering about seeking his next victim.

 

For sure this quote reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote about intelligence:

 

“The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

 

 

I believe it was Keats who called this ‘negative capability.’

 

best worst faces life people good badAs he explained <or tried to > “it is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.”

 

In other words … you understand, or least come to grips with, that there is a shitload of inconsistency and uncertainty in Life and, yet, you deal with it and do what you need to do.

 

<that’s my translation>

 

The truth in Life is that we really don’t have to be one thing because you’re not another thing – or not be something if you are something <you get it>.

 

It may seem impossible to appear to be a contradiction and, yet, be quite a successful, happy, productive bundle of contradictions.

 

Not only do you not have to be one thing forever but you can actually be a couple of things now … at the same time … in this time & place.

 

I sometime believe individual happiness is found more often than not in our ‘negative capability’ intelligence. In other words … how smartly we can navigate the contradictions in Life as well as the contradiction of what is within who & what we are. If we don’t learn negative capability then we must seem to inevitably seek to isolate being one thing and one thing only as a judge of whether we are living Life well, productively and with focus.

 

And maybe that is why I believe Death was, and is, intelligent — it has mastered negative capability. Death has embraced the contradiction of being one thing and yet living another seemingly contradictory idea.

If Death can see beauty in that which it will inevitably have to end with its own hand surely we can see good in bad … as well as be both bad & good ourselves.

 

Regardless.

 

It seems like there is a lesson in here for all of us. And maybe the lesson is, unfortunately, not that simple.

 

Death looks, on the surface, as one thing … and yet … is most likely another.

 

Death does one thing … and yet … most likely thinks many other things.

 

We view Death as one thing and avoid him … and yet … should we meet him on the street on his way to meet someone other than us … he may greet us with a smile.

 

While Death’s perception challenge  is actually called “affective fallacy” <confusion between what it is and what it does> this is a challenge we all face in Life.

 

I imagine, in the end, the lesson is a simple one … sometimes Life just isn’t that simple.

 

Ok.

 

Ditch the ‘sometimes.’best worst good bad life complicated

 

Life is never that simple.

 

We are more than one thing … we are a sum of all our parts … we are part of everyone we have met <and will meet> … and we are, at our core, a reflection of a multi-faceted character containing aspects of all which we desire to be as well as some aspects which we view slightly glumly as ‘the aspects I do not desire to be … but am.’

 

We either embrace the contradictions or … well … we will most likely suck at dealing with Life and living Life.

 

Anyway.

 

What I do know is that I wish someone taught “negative capabilities 101” because we should all sign up for that class. It would be a better world if we were all competent in negative capabilities.

 

 

=======================

 

“When the first living thing existed, I was there waiting.

When the last living thing dies, my job will be finished. I’ll put the chairs on the tables, turn out the lights and lock the universe behind me when I leave.”

 

Neil Gaiman

=====================

 

fall winter and finding meaning in death

December 1st, 2016

 like-the-seasons-things-change-fall-spring-winter-time

========================

 

“What I fear I avoid.

What I fear I pretend does not exist.

What I fear is quietly killing me.

 

Would there were a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me, what is lost in me.

 

Let the light in before it is too late. “

 

 

 Jeanette Winterson from “The Green Man”

===================

 

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”

 

—–

Unknown

(via ginger-and-preppy)

 

 

==============

 

Well <part 1>.

 

I just read a an article in one of those local papers you can pick up at Healthy Grocery stores which attempted to discuss how this time of the year <October/November/December> is the season of ‘decay and death’ … and how it was a potent time to connect with the dead <and highlighted several celebrations around the world which do just that>.

This thought was combined with the thought we human folk balk at connecting with death because it … well … seems morbid to do so.

 

 

and summer regrets

               getting rid

       of winter wishes

 

summer and i

=======

 

 

Well <part 2>.

 

I balk at the whole concept of ‘decay & death’ as well as the ‘morbid‘ thought.

 

Simplistically, seasons remind of us the cycle of Life <not death> and that death, in and of itself a sad event, contains at its very core the very simple concept that without Death, there is no Life.

 

This was immortalized in pop culture by Blood Sweat & Tears in their absolutely fabulous song “and when I die”:

 

====

And when I die and when I’m dead, dead and gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

I’m not scared of dying and I don’t really care.
If it’s peace you find in dying, well, then let the time be near.
If it’s peace you find in dying, when dying time is here,
just bundle up my coffin cause it’s cold way down there,
I hear that’s it’s cold way down there, yeah, crazy cold way down there.
And when I die and when I’m gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

====

 

While each Life is a stepping stone for every future generation each death represents a stepping stone for … well … the future.

dialogue with pain

 

I don’t need any Eastern religion wisdom to remind me of this … I think we all know this.

Now … I will admit that connecting with this thought is much much easier for us when we remove any personalized death and accept it as simply a turning of generations. Therefore … one of the reasons we do not celebrate death is because it can get too personal. And if that is a reason … it sure as hell is a good one.

 

But death itself?

 

While death is something we dislike, facing seasons remain something we must face year in and year out. It is a constant affirmation of the turning of time and that some things we may have gained will most likely be inevitably lost in the natural turn of time.

 

And, yes, as today is December 1st I am reminded that Winter is the time of Life’s strategic retreat and conservation of what gives it all life.

 

It is not death. And it is not decay.

 

It is Life’s thoughtful way to insure its existence and survival.

 

It is the time of incubation and rest and restoration for all things to come in the following year.

 

I could also suggest that winter is a time of reflection and … well … comfort. In winter’s dark nights the stars are at their clearest and we have the opportunity to see them as the sparks of potential and wishes and dreams and … well … Life. Uhm. And dreaming is never a bad thing … particularly during the ‘ebb tide of seasonal Life.’

 

I will not argue that as Life recedes in autumn and rests in winter we do, at least emotionally, get closer to connecting with death … but I do balk at thinking of autumn & winter as ‘things associated with death.’

 

.... a time to Reflect ......

…. a time to Reflect ……

I would argue it actually does a nice job of reminding us we need to let go of things. and, sure, maybe we connect with ‘the dead’ better at this time because … well … it reminds us to celebrate what we had and embrace letting go.

 

And that is the thing about winter … it demands to not only be felt but also that you meet it on its terms. Even better … Winter demands us to let go of things we most typically hold onto with ragged claws.

 

You cannot refuse its existence and you cannot ignore what was because what is … is … well … is starkly different. Where Life was once obvious it is now starkly absent.

 

I would note that all Eastern mysticism and ‘being in touch with the universe’ and the ‘natural ebb of the earth’ and all that stuff, at its core, just suggests that we pay attention. Pay attention to whatever energy seasons give us … and more often than not that energy it gives us is … uhm … just good ole fashioned thinking. It gives us the energy to think about our lives, lives lost and lives yet to be lived.

 

Acknowledgement of all of that increases your overall connection not just with ‘the universe’ but rather to the eternal pattern of life and invests a sense of energy into pretty much everything <yourself and Life>.

 

And just as Death breaks things down to the bare essence, winter does the same.

And maybe that is the connection.

 

When things are at their barest, when we are drawn closer to endings rather than beginnings, we inevitably ponder the ‘great perhaps.’

 

Back in September I wrote this on the first day of Fall:

 

 

 

I think we all seek a great perhaps of “what I know can be”. I think we all know what a better world really looks like. I think we all want to see the beauty that can be found in what is better in everyone.

 

And maybe it is within Fall and the falling leaves we begin to better grasp that failed plans and failed dreams can beget new plans and new dreams. And maybe it is within Winter where , in ts barest of bare essences, we are forced to begin envisioning what could be in plans and dreams because it is left to us standing in the bare environment around us.

time-seasons-change

 

 

What I do know about all seasons is that they are markers of Time … and poetically speaking … Time is always hungry for many of the things we dearly want to endure and do.

 

This makes Time both beautiful and doomed. Yeah. Time is beautiful and doomed. And that is where I really believe the whole ‘morbid time of the year’ goes astray.

 

 

for it seems all of Fall’s stars

                       have fallen

and often summer and i

run through the last warm days

through the cool grass

       gathering stars caught in people’s dreams

with the intent

           to toss them to Winter

through windows of dawn.

 

Summer & i

======

 

 

We, especially in the West, hunger for time.

Conversely, time itself <to us Western folk> has a hunger and its hunger is for ‘things.’

It is a nasty emptiness waiting to be filled.

 

Well.

 

If there is one thing humans are fucking great at … it is filling time and stuffing whatever we can into any emptiness we can find.

 

Death and dying makes us reflect. It forces us to do so. Just as the bare often starkness of Winter does.

And it makes us reflect on what ‘stuff’ we have crammed into whatever Time we have had.

 

Oh. Maybe what it really forces us to do is reflect upon time. and that is where death truly makes us feel uncomfortable … not any morbid feeling but rather it’s just being dead livingthat we have been indoctrinated to focus on living … living life to its fullest, not wasting any time, to do lists that never get completed and just doing shit <just do it>.

 

Nowhere in that list of shit I just shared does death have a place. In fact. Death represents the exact opposite of everything society & our culture almost demands we think about 24/7.

 

And when forced to face death, or feel a need to connect, we are much less likely to celebrate but rather assess … assess our doing mantra versus ‘stop.’

 

Look.

 

Most of us don’t purposefully ignore connecting with death and those who have passed away because of sadness <because if it were we would be more likely to actually do it because the opposite of sadness is reflecting upon the inevitable happiness> but rather because death and past lives force us to reflect upon our ‘doing accomplishment’ <as well as it forces us to stop … which compounds the feeling of ‘shit, I haven’t done enough and I am not doing anything now>.

 

Yeah.

If you can get beyond the ‘doing’ aspect inherently death is more about sadness <loss of something or someone or time> more so than morbidity. Conquer the sadness and you have conquered death.

 

And all of this is just not that difficult <if you are willing to actually think about it>.

 

winter-fall-snow-season-change-lifeSeveral cultures do celebrate the autumnal solstice as the time life & death is closest. I would argue it is less a celebration but rather recognition of that which came before, and that which is dying, so that what will be will come forth.

Generations beget generations just as falls beget springs.

 

Death begets life.

 

This doesn’t mean we should celebrate impending death but rather recognize, even in sadness, life & beauty resides in the future.

 

Fall is of beautiful dying.

Winter is of starkness of death.

Spring is of rebirth from death.

 

This doesn’t mean you can find beautiful things to enjoy throughout any season.  Seasons simply remind us of the fact time does not stand still and no matter how hard we try and fill up the emptiness time offers us day in and day out … leaves fall, winter comes and spring arises.

 

I believe it is the Celtic wheel of the year describes this time of the year as Samhain … “the veil between the worlds is thin.” Just as several other cultures they use his time to reflect upon “that which was.” In my pea like brain … it is a celebration of navel gazing. It is an intentional event to purposefully explore the valuable relationship not only between Life and Death but the past and the future.

 

Listen to the cry of falling leaves,

            but winter breaks the silence

and warms us with words

of how to change it all

      before the Fall completely ends.

So, So

 

Look.

reflect brain things

 

I don’t believe we do not celebrate death and dying because we think it is morbid. I tend to believe we do not traditionally do so because we, as in Western civilization versus Eastern, don’t celebrate reflection.

We treat reflection more as  a personal thing and not a larger more public event and celebration.

 

Should we celebrate reflection? Shit. I don’t know. But understanding that seasons can offer us enlightening thoughts about how we actually think about death & Life & holding on & letting go is surely not a bad thing.

 

As for Fall and Winter? I do not think of death and decay. I actually think of flowers. Huh?

 

I credit Mark Strand for making me think Winter is the time to bring flowers into your Life as he describes Winter in his poem called Blizzard of One:

 

“A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that …”

Mark Strand <Blizzard of One>

Every funeral deserves flowers. Every Winter deserves thoughts of Life.

contradictions & test of a first-rate intelligence

June 22nd, 2015

===

human intelligence 1

“Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation– the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.

This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the “impossible,” come true.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

===

 

 

Whew.

 

 

rainbow color amidst dark hopeIntelligence is a wacky topic.

 

Fraught with peril.

 

 

Therefore I will avoid IQs and any test measured intelligence bullshit and focus on what I call ‘non linear intelligence’.

 

 

Some people are great thinkers … extremely intelligent … when logic rules.

 

These people can line up the data and factors like dominoes and point you to the destination result faster than … well … fast.

 

 

They are the drag racers of intelligence.

 

 

Uhm.

 

 

But ask them to veer a little … and … oops … crash.

 

 

 

Other people are great thinkers … extremely intelligent … when illogical rears its head <or maybe a more chaotic path to the destination result>. They can navigate the disparate information gathering up the useful and discarding the less than useful.

 

 

They are the Formula One racers of intelligence.indy car formula one

 

 

I will admit that I thought about computers when I thought about intelligent people <in this frame of reference> because I sometimes worry that people intelligence will be devalued by computer intelligence.

 

 

It made me ponder <if but just for a moment> the possibility of something being developed called Artificial Superintelligence <ASI … a notch above AI>.

 

I thought about it because computers think faster and accumulate information and offer results faster and with more breadth of information viewing than most people even now.

 

 

My worries were slightly salved when I did some research some guy actually gave me the word comparison I was seeking.

 

 

 

===

A key distinction is the difference between speed superintelligence and quality superintelligence.

Often, someone’s first thought when they imagine a super-smart computer is one that’s as intelligent as a human but can think much, much faster—they might picture a machine that thinks like a human, except a million times quicker, which means it could figure out in five minutes what would take a human a decade.

That sounds impressive, and ASI would think much faster than any human could — but the true separator would be its advantage in intelligence quality, which is something completely different.

intelligence staircase

What makes humans so much more intellectually capable than chimps isn’t a difference in thinking speed — it’s that human brains contain a number of sophisticated cognitive modules that enable things like complex linguistic representations or longterm planning or abstract reasoning, that chimps’ brains do not.

Speeding up a chimp’s brain by thousands of times wouldn’t bring him to our level—even with a decade’s time, he wouldn’t be able to figure out how to use a set of custom tools to assemble an intricate model, something a human could knock out in a few hours.

It’s that his brain is unable to grasp that those worlds even exist—a chimp can become familiar with what a human is and what a skyscraper is, but he’ll never be able to understand that the skyscraper was built by humans.

In his world, anything that huge is part of nature, period, and not only is it beyond him to build a skyscraper, it’s beyond him to realize that anyone can build a skyscraper.

That’s the result of a small difference in intelligence quality.

===

 

 

 

This thought helped me feel a little more comfortable that the great intelligent thinkers will always have a place in the world <and will never be replaced by people>.

 

 

 

But.

 

I actually believe linear intelligent people will end up competing against ASI computers.

 

What about non linear intelligent people?

 

Well.

They will use computers to supplement their thinking.

 

 

My main rationale <beyond the wonderful intelligence quality descriptor above>?

 

Contradictions.

 

Yup.

 

Contradictions.

 

 

Now.

 

I am pleased with this thought because I admit that I like contradictions and I do believe they create the most powerful thoughts, ideas and progress in the world.

 

 

And a 1st rate intelligent person has the ability to grasp the contradiction <quality> … sometimes even a multi-dimensional contradiction <super quality> … and resolve it mentally with some speed <speed>.

 

 

I also believe that computers will struggle with contradiction and resolve that struggle with ‘predictatory modeling.’

 

 

It’s kind of like the computer models that simulate a game 100 times and then they tell you the probability of who will win. Many times this modeling it becomes a “55% will win” prediction.

 

As comparison … does a first rate intelligence simply go by the numbers?

 

 

Nope.

 

 

And that is what accepting and understanding contradictions is all about.

 

 

Well.

 

 

I don’t think I am a first rate intelligent person.oh boy excited

 

 

I do think I am simply someone who loves contradictions.

 

 

Regardless of computers and how they accumulate intelligence … the world will remain chock full of contradictions.

And a world strewn with contradictions should make us ponder more interesting questions and not simply debunk existing knowledge because we cannot accept the contradiction <always seeking the simple as ‘the thing’ rather than simplicity within complexity> . There is certainly some satisfaction to be found in being critical & debunking but we cannot lose sight of the fact it is more interesting to find inspiration in the questioning <and learn more>.

 

 

In addition.

 

 

 

Contradictions are almost always at the core of extraordinary bubbling up out of the seemingly ordinary.

 

 

====

The idea of the extraordinary happening in the context of the ordinary is what’s fascinating to me.

—-

Chris Van Allsburg

====

 

 

Contradiction naturally creates fascinating things.

 

And the fascinating occurs not because it is some impossible thing appearing magically as something possible but rather it is something that most people, who do not grasp two opposable ideas well or easily, simply overlook … and it suddenly occurs as a natural output of the contradiction.

 

 

 

In general I have always liked logical thinking <no matter how random the logic may be> and I always love it when someone combines some unexpected or random looking logic.

 

 

And I love the conflict that naturally occurs when the two opposable ideas are bonded together and presented as something that not only ‘could be’ but what ‘is.’

 

 

Two opposable ideas create conflict.

That just is.

 

 

Intelligent people not only accept the opposable ideas but figure out how to bond them.

 

===

“When you have a conflict that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict.

And when you have a conflict, then it’s an educational process to try to resolve the conflict.

thinking pieces intelligent

And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue.”

Dolores Huerta

===

 

 

In the end.

 

 

Maybe a first rate intelligent person simply embraces the education process, the learning process, in trying to resolve contradictions and conflict.

 

 

All I know is that we need to encourage that type of thinking in everyone and we should exalt those who actually portray a first rate intelligence.

adulthood is better than okay

May 21st, 2015

—————-

adulthood sharks

The cult of youth cheats young and old alike.

Let’s reclaim adulthood.

A culture always looking backward, toward the joys of a vanishing youth, cheats everyone: depending on your age, the “best years” are either an increasingly distant memory, or they will be, all too soon.

In a culture that celebrates growing up, by contrast, everybody has them to look forward to – unless they’re already enjoying them.

=

Oliver Burkeman

—————–

 

 

 

adult growing up skin comfortable

 

Well.

 

 

I am an unequivocal supporter of today’s young, youth and young adults. I believe our future is in good hands <assuming we older folk don’t fuck them, or it, up>.

 

 

I am an unequivocal basher of today’s older generations. I believe our future is slower to come to fruition because of older people reluctant to let go of the past and ‘how it used to be done.’

 

 

And, yet, I am an unequivocal believer in the joys and passion and benefits of adulthood.

 

 

I think far too often the young look at adulthood, flippantly, as ‘the future sucking.”

 

 

I think far too often older people perpetuate this belief by vocally bitching about how ‘this sucks’ <and do and say some fairly absurd things to maintain some semblance of ‘youth’>.

 

 

While the responsibilities of adulthood can sometimes appear daunting <especially if you compare it to youth’s most basic responsibilities – go to school & don’t get thrown in jail> I tend to believe we should be celebrating adulthood.

 

 

And it, frankly, is not that hard.

 

 

I could simply state “if I knew then what I know now” as the prime exhibit for how adulthood has shaped and improved that which we were in our youth … but I will suggest we think about adulthood more.

 

 

I sometimes believe we confuse the messy complexities of adulthood with only ‘bad.’

 

adulthood training

Complexity is not bad … it just is. It is a mix of good, bad, fun, sad, disappointments and successes.

 

 

Uhm.

 

 

But complexity has a tendency to make anyone LOOK bad.

 

 

 

Therefore.

 

What becomes slightly ridiculous in this whole discussion is that the young look at grownups as a group of ridiculous, ill-equipped for today’s world, stagnant & stale stubborn assholes … and the grownups feel the same way <except the asshole part>.

 

 

We feel that way … and appear that way … because adulthood is complex. It is a mishmash of individual responsibility, independence & personal choice change clashing with collective shared responsibility, dependence &  system choice change. We seek simplicity therefore are constantly attacking adulthood Life with formulas to do and ‘ways to simplify our Life’ … and yet they are simply stopgaps to the onslaught of a complex life.

 

 

And all the time we are seeking ways to simplify … we adults continue scoffing at the young … uhm … yet emulating the young <trying to recapture some nebulous thing we believe we have lost>.

 

 

We look silly <we adults>.

 

 

We look silly not admitting life is complex and in its complexity, while harrowing at times, it is a joy of multiple experiences and a series of blood pumping moments.

 

 

Yes.

 

I believe that.

 

 

And I thought about that as I scanned an article about “Why Grow Up? Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age” by Susan Neiman.

 

She makes the case that our youth-fixated society is a symptom of something worth worrying about: we’ve defined growing up as nothing but a question of decline.

 

 

“Being grown-up is widely considered to be a matter of renouncing your hopes and dreams, accepting the limits of the reality you are given, and resigning yourself to a life that will be less adventurous, worthwhile and significant than you had supposed when you began it.”

 

 

Whew.

 

 

Resigning yourself to a life … anything that begins with those words sends a shiver down my spine.

 

 

 

Do not go gently into the good night … those are the words adulthood should embrace.

adult professional

 

 

 

And, yet, it seems like we <we actually being adults> have created a world in which growing up is something nobody would choose if given a choice.

 

 

We suggest the best years of your life are with the young.

 

 

We suggest that dreams are for the young.

 

 

We suggest impossibility is possible with the young.

 

 

We suggest ‘your whole life is ahead of you’ to the young.

 

 

 

Shit.

 

Who wouldn’t choose being young if we offered all that?

 

 

Aw.

 

What crap.

 

 

Adulthood is awesome if you can get your head out of your ass.

 

 

Life isn’t about the innocence of childhood and ‘dreams of what could be’ … it is about doing, experiencing and getting the most out of what is presented to you.

 

 

Life is about ‘not going gently’ and it is certainly NOT about looking backwards.

 

 

Life is about … well … control … personal control over personal choices and personal destiny <or fate>.  We need to remember youth was maybe a 20/80 experience.  20% personal choice and individuality and 80% of Life dictated or controlled. Adulthood is the reverse … 80% personal choice and individuality and making decisions with regard to your own destiny while 20% of Life around you is constructing obstacles to what you want.

 

That said.

 

Adults today have some wacky perspective on adulthood.

 

 

They demand respect. They demand opportunity. They demand money. They demand fairness <yet demand ‘what I deserve’ at exactly the same time>.

They demand perfection.

 

And if they don’t get what they demand?

 

 

They get angry.

 

 

 

 

Today’s adulthood is too busy being angry to understand that adulthood is great.

 

Many adults get so angry they refuse to grow up seeking solace in the trappings of youth <revisiting a time in Life when “I was angry at older people”>.

 

adulthood roles reverse

We are simply exchanging today’s anger for the simplicity of the anger we had in youth.

 

 

 

——-

“Refusing to grow up may be a form of rebellion. But really growing up could be a revolution.”

=

Susan Neiman

——————-

 

 

This is crazy.

 

Fucking crazy.

 

 

Where the hell did we get the idea that youth is the best time of our life?

 

 

What the hell was so great about youth that we have decided to idealize youth?

 

 

For some reason we have decided that adulthood means you need to renounce hoping for something better … and dreaming or pursuing dreams.

 

For some reason we have decided that accepting the limits of your current reality is a given … you need to be resigned to it <it cannot be changed>.

 

For some reason, because of those things I just stated, we have accepted so many ‘less than’ thoughts associated with adulthood that we just look … well … sad and pathetic.

 

 

Geez.

 

Why would any young person aspire to that?

 

<they wouldn’t>

 

 

Why would any adult embrace an adulthood that looks like that?

 

<they wouldn’t>

 

growing up adults

Adulthood doesn’t mean you are finished growing up.

 

 

For some reason we seem to think adulthood means you have to stop being a work in progress and instead ‘stop moving around and stick with something and be the best you can be.’

 

 

 

Why does one have to be exclusive of the other?

 

<they don’t>

 

 

————–

“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”

=

John Connolly

———–

“It is not fair to treat people as if they are finished beings.

Everyone is always becoming and unbecoming. “

=

Kathleen Winter

————–

 

 

Being an adult & adulthood is all about becoming someone and something … and unbecoming someone and something.

 

 

We are constantly developing and undeveloping and we continue to survive the missteps and step backs and figure out where & how to excel with momentary glimpses of what ‘could be’ … and that is what adulthood is all about.

 

 

That is the model of adulthood which we should be providing youth so that we can take back the greatness of adulthood and stop thinking youth is so great.

 

 

———

“Don’t you find it odd that when you’re a kid, everyone, all the world, encourages you to follow your dreams.

But when you’re older, somehow they act offended if you even try.”

=

Ethan Hawke

————

 

 

I find it odd adults discard the great aspects of adulthood and gladly embrace the not-so-great aspects of adulthood.

 

I find it odd adults confuse consistency with stagnancy in how they live their lives.

 

I find it odd adults enjoy looking backwards more than looking forward.

 

 

I find it odd because while I love today’s youth … I love adulthood.management what growing-global-executive-talent

 

 

Simply.

 

Adulthood is much much better than okay. It is much better because while some call it the burden of responsibility I call it the freedom to enable my own destiny.

 

You do with your destiny what you want … you can  get angry if it doesn’t happen the way you want but suffice it to say … adulthood is great because it is YOUR time to make it happen.

 

 

And I wish adults would reclaim adulthood and let the youth have their youth.

gracefully letting go

March 29th, 2015

 

 
———gracefully let go card

 

 

 

“Teach me how to gracefully let go of things not meant for me.”

 

 

via lilac-veinss

 

 

=====

 

 

 

There are moments in the life of a man, and of a nation, when it is right to say:

 

 

I have done my utmost, and I can do no more, therefore I will cease my striving and seek another road.”

 

 

 

======

 

 

“People will try to hold on when their world starts to tilt.

 

 

They will grab onto whatever is in reach.”

 

 

 

Claire Zorn

 

======

 

 

 

freedom feels like hold

Ok.

 

 

Letting go of shit may be one of the hardest things to do in the world.

 

 

Even more difficult?

 

 

Letting go gracefully.

 

 

These are the moments in which you have decided you have done what you have done, done what you consider enough … and you are … well … done.

 

 

These are the moments in which you actually consciously think:

 

 

How do I let go?

gracefully let go lemons

Where do I begin?

Do I let go memory by memory?

How many goodbyes will this take?

Do I leave words with everyone until I have no more words left to give?

 

 

Oh.

 

 

And if I do all this, will it even matter?

 

 

In addition.

 

Maybe I should do nothing.

=

Maybe I should just stand here and let others let me <or ‘it’> go.

 

This stuff, letting go in general, let alone gracefully … is hard. Really hard.

 

 

And while we typically suck at letting the right things go, let alone anything I imagine, we REALLY suck at letting things go gracefully.

 

 

Suffice it to say..

 

 

 

Most people don’t let go gracefully let alone let go at all.

 

 

You just get stuck.

 

You just hold on tight … and then when you do let go you just want to throw it away and ignore it as if you never held it.

 

 

And maybe you get a little confused.

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

There is no handbook for “how to let things go gracefully. “

 

gracefully Yep time let go

 

It does not exist and so you must try to find ways to figure it out on your own.

 

 

Frankly … it seems almost cruel that a handbook on “letting go” doesn’t exist <let alone gracefully>. Because it may be one of the most common things we do in Life.

 

 

We don’t seem to notice the almost daily experience as we let go every single day of countless amounts of things:

 

 

Moments.

Minutes.

Objects.

People.

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

We may not notice until we are faced with a situation that we want to hold on or that we are the ones being let go.

 

That must be it.

 

 

There comes a moment where we realize we are the ropes in a tug-of-war.

 

Someone holding on at each end … until one decides to let go.

 

 

Someone watches you leave.

 

 

Or maybe you end up watching someone else leave.

 

 

 

Regardless.

 

 

We have lots of personal experience letting shit go.

 

 

Most times things are let go little by little. And in these small but significant changes we don’t really learn the ‘gracefully’ part … just the letting go part.

 

 

In addition.

 

 

Not only do we let most things go in small insignificant increments … often you have no control.

 

 

Things get lost.

 

 

People are going to begin to let you go regardless of whether you ask them to or not.

 

 

I have said it before … but part of growing up is leaving shit – regrets, stuff, people, choices, etc. – behind.

 

 

Well.

 

 

That is the gracefully part.

 

 

Learning to let things go that you not only made the ‘let go decision’ but also the things that were ‘let go’ by someone else.

 

 

In other words … learning to let things go even when your world starts to tilt.

 

 

Simply.

 

 

Holding on is a shitload easier than letting go.

 

 

And, in fact, I am not sure there is such a thing as ‘holding on gracefully.’

 

 

You are just … well … holding on.

 

 

Sigh.

 

 

Let’s end with this thought.

 

Unfortunately … I tend to believe you encounter more things not meant for you than those things actually meant for you in Life.

 
And while we may eventually get better as we get older with regard to sifting through all these things inevitably you will end up with a lot of shit that … well … aren’t really meant for you.

 

And even more unfortunately … there really isn’t anyone to help you sift thru … no one is going to … ‘teach me how to gracefully let go of things not meant for me.’

 

 

That is something you just gotta figure out on your own.

 

gracefully Life

Me?

 

I am a work in progress.

 

 

 

I have certainly learned to let go of things … but still learning to do so gracefully.

 

 

I can only hope that I am more graceful on the important things.

when not to let go (and balloons)

March 28th, 2015

—-

hold on let go balloons

“There are times in life when people must know when not to let go.

Balloons are designed to teach small children this.”

=

Terry Pratchett

————–

Well.

 

 

I have written about how difficult it is for people, in business & Life, to let go of things so much I am not sure I can find any new words to share on that topic.

 

 

In fact … if you google “reasons to not let go” you get nothing.

 

Nada.

 

 

You get jack shit on the topic.

 

 

All you get is page after page of ‘reasons to let go.’

 

 

And, yet, there are certainly times to know when to not let go.

 

 

To be clear … a purposeful ‘not let go’ is a different difficulty for us. While not letting go is something that is mostly based on some version of fear or doubt … knowing when to not let go of something seems to be more about our difficulty in discerning what is important, or good, and what is unimportant , or bad.

 

 

In fact.

 

I think part of the ‘not letting go’ difficulty resides in how we learned to hold on in childhood <the balloon thing>.

 

 

We learn very early on that when you let go of something good it floats away never to be seen again. So we have learned to hold on a tightly as possible to goodbye handanything that could be construed as good <even if it is really a crappy balloon>.

 

We have become so good at it we are almost proud of not letting go. Therefore the problem isn’t our ability to actually hold on … it is choosing what to really not let go of.

 

 

Not letting go is complex compounded by the fact we are complex people.

 

 

Why does the complexity matter?

 

Because there is no formula. No ‘rules of not letting go.’

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

 

Some things are obvious.

 

 

The self stuff, the character stuff, the ‘who you are as a person’ stuff you don’t let go of. They are good balloons.

 

 

 

But after a while you have so many balloons you can’t discern the good ones from the bad ones. Which leads me to suggest I sometimes believe the ‘what not to let go’ choice is an acquired intuition thing.

 

Yup.

 

I just typed acquired and intuition side by side.

 

 

I like to remind people that you are not borne with good intuition. You may be borne with a good intuition muscle but experience strengthens the muscle and it takes some time & experience to ‘acquire’ the intuition necessary to ‘not let go’ of the right things.

 

 

Regardless.

 

I suggest intuition because unless one of the balloons has lost all its air and has sunk to the ground you are choosing amongst a shitload of balloons that maybe all look pretty good to you.

 

 

This may sound crazy because balloons float above you and should seem obvious at all times … but the connections to many of the balloons in your life are actually like links of a chain underwater.

==

“The moment of truth, the sudden emergence of a new insight, is an act of intuition.

Such intuitions give the appearance of miraculous flushes, or short-circuits of reasoning. In fact they may be likened to an immersed chain, of which only the beginning and the end are visible above the surface of consciousness.

The diver vanishes at one end of the chain and comes up at the other end, guided by invisible links.”

Arthur Koestler

==

learning to fly hands
You see the balloons.

Okay. You see some of them.

But the strings get all tangled up and you cannot tell which string to let go of <because you are not sure which balloon will go away> and which one to hold on to. Some of the choices you make as you look at the strings is intuitive. And given some time and experience I imagine the string feels a little different in your hand as you pluck it out from all the others. That is this version of intuition.

 

 

So.

 

 

One of the things I admire most in people is consistent great intuition and how they manage what to not let go of.

 

 

It is an interesting characteristic to assess when you meet people and is fairly easy because you can just look up and see the balloons they carry with them.

 

 

So, in the end, maybe the balloon metaphor is bad … or maybe I simply overused it … but suffice it to say that while there is a lot of free advice on ‘letting go’ there isn’t a whole shitload of advice on ‘what to not let go of.’

 

 

I think it is obvious that there are certainly some ‘be yourself’ characteristics that you should never let go of <although figuring out what to not let go of as you try and improve yourself is not easy either>.
What is less obvious is the other stuff in your life. Experiences, knowledge, even people.

 

birds on hand

I don’t have any answers today. Just questions. And maybe some prompting that this is something we should think about a little more.

 

 

Most letting go advice online is vapid and a waste of time <albeit with good intent>.

 

 

I don’t have any advice for ‘not let go’ other than think about it. We all learn to hold on to balloons because they represent freedom and hope and good things waiting above us. Those should be the things we hold on to and not let go of.

Enlightened Conflict