Enlightened Conflict

the gap between event and truth (or the big squeeze)

August 30th, 2014

dream seeking sky

 

—-

“If a man shall begin in certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”

=

Francis Bacon

—-

“I don’t rule out anything.”

——-

 

Yikes.

 

 

Yikes is all I can say when thinking about the gap between when an event happens … and the inevitable truth comes out.

 

In fact … I would suggest that in between is simply the ‘big squeeze’ where you & I <and, unfortunately,  truth gets squeezed>.

 

big_squeeze

 

In today’s news and social technology … world events, facts, speculation and truth become so blurred it is not only difficult to know what is going on … it is difficult to know what did go on.

 

 

The trouble is that facts get dribbled out like scarce drops of water and each get analyzed as if they were each an ocean of facts <when it is one drop of information and a gazillion drops of speculation>.

 

 

A story unfolds slowly … never fast enough for anyone … and if you don’t pay attention ‘your’ story may be three or four editions behind <yet … that is what you believe>.

 

 

On a side note … unfortunately this also seem to happen far too often in the business world.

 

 

Regardless.

 

 

 

So … what can we believe?

 

 

What is “true” or “valid” or “reliable” information?

 

 

 

Oops.

 

 

 

 

These words are all slightly different. And, unfortunately, those differences create entirely different worlds of meaning.

 

 

In fact … those words inevitably intrude nevetween the event and truth. They intrude between reality and perceptions and, ultimately, understanding.

 

 

All the while the confusion upsets the majority.

 

—–

“There is much contradictory news, I really don’t know what to believe.”

—–

 

 

Excessive alarm, fueled by misleading news reports, leads to knee-jerk responses that are not necessarily for the best.

 

 

It is another fact that theories grow without facts.

 

 

And then scraps of information beget even more theories.

 

 

And initial theories are revised with new information.

 

And in the end theories are actually created by selective use of some scraps of information.

 

The main ingredient for rumor generation and transmission is uncertainty.
It is within the lack f full information … some of which is called a ‘mystery’ or ‘crisis’ which permits everyone to play detective and theorist for a day.

 

 

So much uncertainty also creates opportunities for people with existing agendas to dwell on their favorite themes <take a moment and think about this in business … that ambitious fool in the cubicle across the floor seeking an opportunity to move ahead in the wretched in between of the event and final truth … sigh>.

 

 

 

All that said … as events happen and information unfolds I realized that a guy named Alain Badiou has provided some good thoughts about what happens between the event and truth.time what matters

 

 

 

——-

“…. truth enters into the world for Badiou not as a state but as a process, or more specifically as four processes: love, politics, art and science.

He claims that truth itself is almost impossible to recognise as truth, but it can become briefly discernable for a passing moment in what he calls an event.

The event is a rupture in the current circumstances caused by an awareness of what is missing from those circumstances. The event is a glimpse of the void inherent to any given state.

Having experienced such an event, a subject is created who has a chance to affect the world by remaining faithful to the event of truth they have encountered.

=

Alain Badiou

——

 

 

It is maddening … but he is correct.

 

 

 

An event is being defined by love <people who are hurt or benefit from>, politics <those with an agenda>, art <I will loosely use this as journalism … but in today’s social world … let’s call it ambient journalism or amateur storytelling> and science <the endless array of experts who cite research and science>.

 

 

 

We are barraged from all sides by these four things.

 

 

I will call this the big squeeze.

 

 

We get squeezed as truth is validated by the traditional aspects in which truth is arrived at:

 

 

-        Anecdotes: Powerful compelling narrative examples of phenomena from world of experience that might embody a principle. Ideas correspond to real world events.period end-of-story_design

-        Statistics: Could that observation of a phenomenon be in error? Statistics reveals patterns and tests validity of generalizations –For example, if a finding was made by chance.

-        Explanatory power: Utility of an idea in helping integrate a larger array of ideas in a coherent way.

choice sometimes one

 

Uhm.

 

 

 

Trouble.

 

 

 

Those three things imply ‘time.’

 

As in a reasonable amount of time to have these things unfold.

 

 

 

Its trouble because while media endlessly states with sincerity … “of course it is premature to draw conclusions” they immediately veer into theory, hypothesis and speculation.

 

 

 

 

Second guessing decisions and actions as well as guessing <or speculating> on conclusions all the while establishing the outer limits of what is only frustrated guesswork but is truly the outer limits of the boundaries squeezing us.

 

 

 

——

“In this age of instant reporting and tweets and blogs, there’s a temptation to latch on to any bit of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions.

But when a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right.

That’s why we have investigations.

That’s why we relentlessly gather the facts.

That’s why we have courts.

And that’s why we take care not to rush to judgment — not about the motivations of these individuals; certainly not about entire groups of people.”

=

President Barak Obama

——-

 

 

 

Most of us want to know when there is an event … but we want to know truth.

 

 

And, yet, the world around us is squeezing us on all 4 sides with images and words.

 

 

 

The ‘gap’ between the event and truth actually becomes the crisis … not the event itself <and if any word is being overused these days it is certainly ‘crisis’>.

 

 

 

Truth is never <or let’s say … very very rarely> a static state.

 

 

If it were than an event would have a predetermined truth.

 

 

 

Badiou sees knowledge as ultimately fragile and subject to change.

 

 

 

Look.

 

 

As an event occurs truth is created.

 

 

 

Which means we should look to science as to how we should assess information in the gap … as we are getting squeezed:

 

 

—-

-         VALIDITY of data refers to its accuracy and specificity, as well as its applicability to the question being asked.

=

-        RELIABILITY refers to data’s precision, consistency, and appropriate resolution

—-

 

As we transfer information we learn about an event into our pea-like brains and start thinking about it … we are right to question and test our perceptions — to establish the validity and reliability of our experiences and the beliefs they engender.

gg preventative unlocking identity

 

 

We are all concerned about what is true and what is not — with what is real.

 

Memory and imagination are strong sources of imagery.

 

 

 

But our struggle is to discern our internal instincts <thoughts we naturally gravitate to> from the external opinions mixed with true knowledge or we are hopelessly confused.

 

 

Oh.

 

 

Scientists are awesome at actually discerning.

 

As they explore the boundaries of what is ‘known’ they are especially wary.

 

They are often confronted with information for which there is little or no precedent to guide their judgment about the meaning of their data.

 

Oh.

 

Politicians and journalists suck at this.

 

 

Politicians and journalists have a common interest in crises. When there’s a crisis, people buy newspapers and turn on the news to learn how politicians and leaders will fix the crisis.

 

 

 

In addition … crises give politicians <and people with some agenda … in general> more power.

 

 

And maybe that is where the big squeeze, the gap between the event and the truth, really gets us.

 

 

 

We seem to be a society fond of creating a sense of crisis all the time … and only some of the time, now and then, the truth comes out.

 

 

 

Many philosophers have expounded on the difference between knowledge and truth but not many have invested a lot of energy <and thinking> of how a sense of crisis affects how we absorb knowledge and arrive at truth.

 

 

 

Look.

 

 

 

Not everything is a crisis.

 

 

It can be a tragic event … it could be a tragedy of errors … it could simply be an unfortunate confluence of unintended consequences … but most events are not crises.

 

 

 

This is true in every day Life as well as in business.

 

 

 

But regardless of an events ‘label’ I can almost guarantee we will be squeezed by a combination of what I stated earlier … Badiou suggests Truth is not a state but a process, or more specifically as four processes: love, politics, art and science.

 

 

truth quest

When an event happens we will be squeezed in the gap between the event and truth by the 4 things I listed above.

 

 

How much you care.

 

How much society cares <politics>.

 

How much art cares <because they create the imagery>.

 

How much science cares <because they create the facts>.

 

 

 

 

 

We just need to try and not be suffocated by all that caring until the truth is aired.

 

 

the one meant for us

July 19th, 2013

 

“… the one that is meant for us is going to be the hardest to get, the hardest to understand, the hardest to keep, and the hardest to accept.love is not easy
Love wasn’t made to be easy; otherwise we wouldn’t end up with the right person.
We would end up with the first one who comes along.  By struggling we single out the wrong ones and realize who really is the one.”
 – p. wage

 

I have no idea who “P. Wage” is other than she is a youngish girl writing & posting stuff on tumblr.

And I have no reason for posting this other than the fact I read it, thought it was pretty insightful from a tween girl and … well … I liked it.

 

Well written.

Well thought out.

And a good thought.

 

Ah.

These young people.

They can remind us old folk of some pretty important thoughts on occasion.

 

Love wasn’t made to be easy.

 

Whew.

Smart kid.

 

navel gazing (and grass)

July 3rd, 2013

 

“When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint, something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about.”  – Albert Einsteinnavel gazing

 

Ah.

This is about self-reflection or, in non-technical terms, navel gazing.

I began with a quote from Al because, in general, Al <which is what he was called by his closest nerd friends> was a pretty sharp guy <with bad hair>.

And while I have never seen his navel I would imagine that on the occasion he actually did gaze at it … that even he reflected for a moment or so … but not too long into the navel fixation … he then decided that maybe there were bigger and better things to think about.

And went out and did it.

Sure.

Everyone needs periods of self-reflection and evaluation. It helps understanding better who you are, where you want to be, what you want to do and all that <important> garbage. It is healthy to take some time to think things over with the intent to better understand yourself and see things clearer.

Someone said ‘an unexamined life is not worth living and an unexplored life is not worth examining.’

A trite thought but … well … wherever you go … there you are.

But.

The key word in all of this is “some” <time>.

Not gobs <of time> just some <time>.

Regardless.

Wherever you are … the odds are that when you do some navel gazing … inevitably you think about someone else’s navel <and wonder> … okay … okay … it would be weird to think about and compare with someone else’s navel … so let’s make it grass.

As in green grass. You inevitably wonder about someone else’s grass. And inevitably that somewhere you are gazing at something that may appear to be greener grass.

And that is where navel gazing can get you in some trouble.

 

life is comedy or tragedy“There is nothing in the world sadder than green green grass on an autumn afternoon. A tree, crops in the field, animals … everything else alive knows this is the season to prepare for the worst. But grass? Hoping against hope that the sunshine won’t ever go away. Or maybe too dumb to realize what is coming. “– inspector O

 

Greener grass is tantalizing.

And maybe we dwell upon green grass too dumb to realize it is autumn and what is coming.

Or maybe it is that we are the dumb ones.

 

So navel gaze personally at some peril.

That green grass is always around you … and it is tempting to think it is greener than yours <or there is more of it or it lasts longer or … or … or …> but in the end … it is some one else’s grass. Just like it is someone else’s navel.

My point?

 

You have what you have.

 

You are where you are.

 

You can reflect as much as you want about what you have and where you are but there are bigger and better things out there to be pondering <trust me … and Al … on this>.

Okay.

Beyond personal stuff … how about business?

Whew.

The grass is greener thing takes on an entirely different <and absurd> hue. navel gazing greener_grass_750In fact … this may be one of the biggest issues affecting slowed growth/progress impediment facing businesses today. While some leaders focus too far inside their business cocooning themselves from the reality <saying ‘we is what we is’ at the expense of some common sense>. Far more leaders peer enviously into other’s yards gazing at their green grass <or what they perceive as green grass>.

And here is where it gets slightly absurd.

In personal life it is about that green patch. The waving blades of grass.

In business … it is not only about the green grass … they are envious of the grass <of which the cell configuration of each individual blade of grass may come under scrutiny>, the fertilizer, the landscaping, the maintenance schedule, the landscaper/maintenance people themselves … heck … even the ground it is in <the geography in other words>.

And, because it is business, someone can even get hired to grade the greenness of other people’s grass against your own <typically with some awesome computer generated colored graphs and charts>.

So it isn’t as simple as the green grass … it is all aspects .

Whew.

Talk about not keeping things in perspective. It makes my head hurt even thinking about this topic <and it is actually physically painful if you experience it in real business situations>.

Business or personal … we tend to lose perspective <despite the objective to gain perspective – ouch>.

And another thing is about keeping things in perspective … how you use your time & energy.

We can all be prone to spending far too much time dicking around thinking about grass whether it be green, growing, dying or simply a random tuft of grass in a desert.

Now.

Research certainly suggests that it might be prudent to avoid excessive self-reflection or at least the wrong sort of reflection. Some research has shown that nearly 45% of respondents in the more wealthy nations globally seem to dread the holidays … at times when you take stock of your life and reflect.

How crazy is that?

In our quest to improve we even fuck up our free time because instead f relaxing we self reflect, become dissatisfied, grumpy … and depressed.

What’s up with that?

We get all caught up with excessive inwardness or self-centeredness and unrealistic expectations. Navel Gazing 31 daysAnd, inevitably, we seek blame … the innate inadequacies of life driven by some comparison with other seemingly lucky or more fortunate or smarter or harder working or ‘whatever’ individuals.

Some self-help guy called it our ‘false self.’

 

“Nothing is more discontented than our lower nature, the false self. It is always unhappy with one thing or another. If there is one weed in the field of roses, you can bet that is what it will see. Since it has no real life of its own, it must endlessly create stimulating thoughts and feelings of one kind or another in order to give it the sensation of being alive.

Like Sisyphus condemned in Hades to a life of endlessly pushing up a rock uphill, only to have it roll down again, the false self must spin its life tales over and over again. It is desperately afraid of not having the next thing to do.” – guy Finley <self help wackjob … although I do like the Sisyphus reference … adds some credibility>

 

Well.

I am not sure I am buying everything he is selling … but … I do believe there is a fine line in being in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction <those words – which I love – were actually stated by then-CEO of J. Walter Thompson in the 1950’s … ‘we are a company in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction’> and simply being discontent for the sake of being discontent.

It is a fine line because while no one should desire being stagnant they should also never be obsessive with movement. What I mean by that is not all movement is created equal. Moving simply to move, or show movement, is wasted energy.

Push versus pull.

Active versus passive.

Pick your poison. It is a fine line.

 

Ok.

This grass is always greener on the other side thing.

It is an illusion.

navle gazing The Grass Is Greener On The other sideAnd not because we should all be “grateful for what you have” but rather because … well … grass is typically grass and as with all grass … from a distance it can look awesome but up close it kind of <typically> looks an awful like the same stuff under your feet.

Here is something to ponder … something which I believe <unfortunately> is a Life truth … the grass will always be greener on the other side <at least in our minds>.

 

You will never … okay … very rarely … arrive at a point where you will believe you are entirely happy with everything in your life or believe that your grass is just perfect the way it is.

 

Or it is probably more likely that in our contemporary view of the nonstop quest for Life perfection <ongoing self-development> our grass will never be as green as we want it to be?

That is truly a perpetual state of dissatisfaction.

In addition.

That is self-reflection passing into self-improvement sinking into the forever unending spiral of desire to be better <and have something better>.

And in this never ending quest to be more than we are today … our tomorrows become hopelessly entangled in the infinite challenge of being more than what we are today.

Whew.

Sounds painful.

 

Sounds simple though.

Because it seems that all navel gazing does … is highlight what you already know and feel … and what you want <in terms of improvement or ‘bettering’>.

You want to improve something … and you also discover <in those moments> it will never be done.

It is a never ending quest.

Ok.

That makes navel gazing tricky.

Maybe because it is also a microcosm of the contradiction of life.

Planned versus carefree.

Perfection versus beautiful imperfections.

And how all of those things are often defined in the eyes of the beholder.

 

It all really comes down to a good intention … a desire for things, particular something as important as our Life, to be perfect … or as perfect … as it can be.

And in our quest for that perfection we chafe against our desire for some aspects of carefree freedom … the sometimes whimsical things we want to do … as well as the natural ebbs and flows of life.

 

Control versus uncontrollable.

Chaos versus planned.

 

Perhaps we are the ultimate perfectionists, radically aiming for the ever elusive perfection in life <and therefore I assume happiness?> and in doing so justifying the behavior by suggesting we are never accepting mediocrity in its place.

This reminds me to say ‘perfection is shit.’

Anyway … this ideal of perfectionism <or seeking a perfect life> creates an odd contradiction to most people’s desire to be unrestrained carefree folk.

Huh?

We are even perfectionists about being carefree.

This is the ultimate in planned spontaneity.

Shit.

We even plan our free time.

And it all sounds painful.

Especially if you invest time navel gazing <because this means your navel is always in conflict with itself>.

 

I often believe the infamous “what would you do in life if you did not need to work for money?” question is a good one to navel gaze over at some point … but too often we simply discard it <for a good reason … you do have to make some money at some point in life> and for a bad reason <in our pragmatically driven world people drop the thought into ‘dreaming’ which implies unrealistic and unattainable>. But it is a worthwhile question regardless.

 

I imagine in my own pea like brain that part of the issue with navel gazing is the concept of relative life truths.

Relative because … what is truth to one person may not be true to another.

Life is messy.

We are on a perpetual journey of improvement <until we die which simply means we ran out of time>.

What I mean: Time <our body’s time> is not infinite … yet improvement <our self improvement> is infinite.

Last.

Life is a contradiction … one big massive unfathomable bottomless well of contradictions.

 

Anyway.

And navels are a personal thing <lint and all> not to be compared with others.

I often wonder if navel gazing really can lead to happiness <in business or in Life>. Because as soon as you sort one area of life out … there seems to be something else to work on.

It is a perpetual quest driven by perpetual dissatisfaction <driven by desire for self improvement>.

I imagine if you can maintain a healthy perspective … some sense that you are controlling this messy Life we live in … you can avoid the green grass gazing <and desire for someone else’s grass> and find some solace in some small victories <which are nice feelings and in general feed happiness>.

And while I may be cynical about navel gazing … everyone should go ahead and take a moment <or two> to look.

But keep it simple.

And don’t focus on dissatisfaction but rather the Big 3:

 

“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”- Joseph Addisonnavel gazing chapter

 

Well.

Doing, loving & hope.

One could do worse than focusing on these three things.

 

Anyway.

The bottom line from Bruce.

 

Hope is awesome.

Perfection is shit.

Life is gloriously messy.

There are always bigger and better things to think about than yourself.

Here’s to those who find some green grass lurking in your navel.

Song of the Day

January 30th, 2013

Song of the Day – Love is the Way … BlazeLove_Song_by_spitfire1686

The title says it all. Love in the perspective, of Love of Fellowman, or Love of Self. So much wasted energy is given to, hate and lying and scheming to get over on the next person, IT IS A TAUGHT WAY OF LIFE. Every man or Woman for themselves or, Kill or be Killed, Self-Gratification, and many more.

There have been times when I have given a co-worker a hug just because I knew or the lack thereof; it would possibly brighten their day. NO, everyone can’t pull this off, because you’d get tacked up for HARRASSMENT! But how easy is it to REALLY LISTEN when you ask someone “How is your day?”

Don’t be STINGY, Love is free, Brings no Stress, Makes you cry, and at the same time purges out ALL PAIN, helps you breathe easy, you smile more, people want to be around you, and you like yourself all the more for TEACHING LOVE!

You have a call on line 1… Love will be there in 10 minutes!

Dj Luv Dlux

[music-player]

definition of love

June 15th, 2012

Oh.

Those darn tween/teens.  Saying such … well … mature thoughtful things.  Even about love (when all they are supposed to understand is puppy love).

Ok.

Sure.

They are just words … versus how they would actually deal with the situation. But. Regardless.  There are many adults who cannot articulate the concept of love as well as this.

“Before you can grow up, you must fall in love 3 times. Once you must fall in love with your best friend, ruining your friendship forever. This will teach you who your true friends are, and the fine line between friendship and more. Once you must fall in love with someone you believe to be perfect. You will learn that no one is perfect, and that you should never be treated as anything less than you deserve. And once you must fall in love with someone that is exactly like you. This will teach you about who you are, and who you want to be. And when you’re through with all that, you learn that the people who care about you the most are the ones that you hurt, and the ones that hurt you are the ones that needed you the most. But most of all, you learn that love is only a concept and is not something that can be defined, it is different to each and every person on this earth, knowing that everyone only wants to be loved.” –  xiloveyouxlaura on xanga

And.

She follows up her thoughts on love with words about letting go.

It reads as a cathartic post.

One in which she puts words on paper hoping that they rise up and actually become reality instead of just sitting there echoing inside her heart.

Once again.

Teen maturity.

Teen wisdom.

Teen seeing truth.

And, once again, I am not suggesting she is actually living the words … I am simply giving her credit for recognizing what she SHOULD know and do.

In my eyes … knowing what to do and feel is half the battle.

Sure.

The other half of the battle is a humdinger (actually doing it) … but maybe she will write something else some other day when she is older to prove to us once again that teens are smarter than we think.

As for smartness? “Letting go is growing up.” Well. About love or not that is an adult thought.

Here is how she talks to her fellow teens about ‘letting go’:

“To let go isn’t to forget, not to think about, or ignore. It doesn’t leave feelings of anger, jealousy, or regret. Letting go isn’t about winning or losing. It’s not about pride and it’s not about how you appear, and it’s not obsessing or dwelling on the past. Letting go isn’t blocking memories or thinking sad thoughts, and doesn’t leave emptiness, hurt, or sadness. It’s not about giving in or giving up. Letting go isn’t about loss and it’s not about defeat. To let go is to cherish the memories, but to overcome and move on. It is having an open mind & confidence in the future. Letting go is learning and experiencing and growing. To let go is to be thankful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and made you grow. It’s about all that you have, all that you had, and all that you will soon gain. Letting go is having the courage to accept change, and the strength to keep moving. Letting go is growing up. It is realizing that the heart can sometimes be the most potent remedy. To let go is to open a door, and to clear a path and set yourself free.”

Well done, Laura.

Well written.

Well thought out.

If I could tell her one thing, given what she has written and how she was able to articulate the thought behind love … that she has a better chance at real love at some point than a shitload of people in the world.

Oddly … teens could teach us adults (or at least remind us) some good things to remember about love … and the feeling.

Ok.

And lastly.

Something silly about love.

Something silly about what you would ever ask someone you love to do for you.

Silly … but mostly true.

I included this because after thinking about love … and what Laura said on her blog … I found this. And in it’s random silliness I found a diamond of truth. I believe this is what every man wants his children to think … and his soul mate to do for him in the end … (maybe by including this I am showing just one more example for why I have never been married) …

Burt:

Do you promise to let our daughter be fat or skinny or any weight at all? Because we want her to be happy, no matter what. Being obsessed with weight is just too cliché for our daughter.

Verona:

Yes, I do.

And do you promise, when she talks, you’ll listen? Like, really listen, especially when she’s scared? And that her fights will be your fights?

Burt:

I do.

And do you promise that if I die some embarrassing and boring death that you’re gonna tell our daughter that her father was killed by Russian soldiers in this intense hand-to-hand combat in an attempt to save the lives of 850 Chechnyan orphans?

Verona:

I do. Chechnyan orphans. I do. I do.

So.

Maybe I am best described as a realist with a touch of hopeless romantic.

Maybe all that really means is that I like to find people who value a romantic type of love love but believe a relationship must have a strong thread of a companion type of love.

Maybe I like to believe that we adults don’t have all the answers to love and that maybe, just maybe, teens can remind us what love is really all about. And that maybe there is a silly part of love that we should remember.

Or … maybe I am just being silly.

One thing I AM sure of?

You only need to find one who feels the same way.

life, love, alone and togetherness

February 14th, 2011


“One day you will ask me what I love more, you or my life, and when I say my life you will walk away from me without knowing that you are my life.”

~Anonymous

Ah. Valentine’s Day.

One of my favorite days of the year (yeah … I am a diehard romantic).

It may seem like a constructed event and day, but who cares.

First. It has a significant role in that it helps the general male population not be asses all the time. Using some advertising industry lingo I think of Valentine’s Day as sort of an “aided awareness” event for guys.

Most guys stumble around through life and relationships kinda thinking they need to do something for a ‘loved one’ but unless tripped by their significant other never really do anything.  And then Valentine’s Day comes along and it is ‘game on.’

That is aided awareness at its best.

Second. Valentine’s Day should remind you of the awesomeness of togetherness.

So.

I have spent the day together, alone and semi-together (think long distance apart).

But the day itself also serves as a reminder to us (well … at least this one lifelong bachelor) about some things.  Love.  Companionship. And being alone versus loneliness.

I know I don’t think much about loneliness despite often being alone. And valentine’s day doesn’t really make me feel lonely because I have been so fortunate in my life with regard to the women in my life I tend to take the day, if I am not ‘together’ with someone, to think back on the times I was together with someone and how great it was (and how great they were).

But it does make me think about life and being alone.

Oddly loneliness and being alone really only seem to intersect in life through success.  Yeah.  Success.

Cause when success in life does come along and you don’t have someone to share it with … well … it seems to mean a lot less. Okay.  Sometimes almost nothing in the scheme of things (I know … that is harsh & extreme but it seems to capture the essence & truth of the thought).

I have a good life and a fairly successful career.  Certainly had my share of great life and career moments.  So I feel qualified in judging this thought I am sharing.

I do know that I can describe some of the big moments in my career and still have difficulty describing the heights of emotion one feels. Your heart almost explodes. It’s like how you hold your breath watching that USA gymnast in the Olympics for their entire routine and when they stick the ending flawlessly you want to shout and jump and down for them.  Only it’s exponentially bigger because it is you.  It’s personal.

But.

Maybe 4 minutes later (absolutely less than 5 minutes) there is a slightly unsettling silence that overcomes you.

Yes. In less than 250 seconds you can suddenly go from feeling the extremest high of highs to facing the harsh realization that there is no one to share it with. And that isn’t a low … it is just an emptiness.  An empty space.

Oh sure, there are family and friends.

But it’s not the same.

Because success isn’t really about congratulations or having a cheering section because that stuff I can do all by my lonesome.

In the end the victory is slightly hollow because there is nothing … absolutely nothing … better than being able to share the moment with someone who means the world to you. And without someone, well, I guess it just potentially trickles into nothingness.

Look. There are no excuses on this one.

It is easy to suggest work gets in the way of togetherness as workdays often turn into work nights and working weekends and your social life soon becomes something on your work list that you never seem to get done.

But it isn’t just work.  Its life.  I saw a friend yesterday and he said “I just didn’t have time.”  I suggested it was actually “when I had the time it just wasn’t the right time to do that.’

We sometimes become a slave to life and all the things we need to do. So when you actually do have time … whatever else you have to do (or want to do) comes down to timing (i.e., what do I feel like doing at that time). And some really good things just get passed over not because you didn’t have time but rather because it just wasn’t what you were inspired to do within that free time.

Ok.  Back to alone and togetherness.

I choose how I live my life so I am not complaining in this post.

And I am not one of those people who say there is no time or the energy to invest into a relationship.

Because bottom line it’s really not about wanting something (or wanting it bad enough) because if that right person shows up … you make time.

Chicken or egg I am not sure but it is what it is. All I really know is that it is amazing how time expands when you find that someone you want to be together with. There is no such thing as ‘not enough time.’

Here is the harsh truth.

“I’m too busy” people are one of two things – either selfish (putting everything in their own life ahead of any other person) or uninspired (no one has sparked the time expansion life postulate to make it happen).

Oh.

It took me awhile to figure that last sentence out by the way.

And I think that is what love is kinda all about.

I am pretty sure life is not about people finding balance between life, career and love. Why? Because I tend to believe true love forces balance. True love creates balance in your life. You don’t “make time” for true love. Time is always there for that kind of love.

So I guess the point of all this is that it is days like Valentine’s Day that remind me that being together is awesome.

And if you have that special someone and it takes Valentine’s Day to make you step up to the plate to tell them how special they are  … then, well, step up and do it.

Oh.

And while you do that … maybe take a second and think about those little success moments you have had in life and how awesome it was that in that moment you had someone to share it with.  Cause in the end those are truly the “valentine’s day” days. They just don’t have the chocolate and the roses and stuff.

And.

To all my past valentine’s … thanks, you were always there “… to double the joys and halve the griefs.”

Happy Valentine’s Day.

things i have learned about marriage (even though I’m not)

September 4th, 2010


So.

First.

Why am I writing this?

Well. In that warped way I collect thoughts and ideas and learning I came across two items about marriage almost simultaneously as I was reading different things searching for an insightful piece of information for something I was writing. One was on a blog (and I included the entire fabulous little write up below) and the other was in Tennis magazine (whew. Talk about piecing together some random pieces of information). But when one dropped on top of the other and both captured a really nice thought about marriages and long relationships I started to write.

Second.

All my married best friends are in rock solid marriages. And I guess I should include my sister also.

Rock solid. Okay. Sure. All of them have had some ups & downs and several had what I would call a ‘trial rocky’ period. And I cannot find one true similarity between all of them (excepting me and I will not be claiming any cause & effect relationship in this situation). All have their own unique balance and are rock solid. I am lucky to have them as friends.

And then.

I read the blog post below and it really does seem to make the whole dating game seem worth it.

The realities of “you are no picnic to be living with either” is a kind of stunning reminder of how difficult it is to share space with someone else who you may adore and love but drive you frickin’ crazy at the exact same time.

Some people have this crazy fairytale idea of what marriage is or should be and while I certainly won’t suggest it isn’t easy I also won’t suggest it isn’t really “work.” Oftentimes it is just keep things in perspective.

It is really easy to lose sight of all the little aggravating things we do that can be annoying to others and rather focus instead on the other’s “dirty sock” (or whatever) issue.

It truly can be a huge pain in the ass to live with another human being.

Squeezing toothpaste from the end or the middle. Not wiping off the counter if dripped something. The load of laundry that is sitting there that could have been started at any time as they walked by.

All need to be balanced by the amount of times maybe they have made you laugh when you were ready to cry. The random act of the romantic that does remind you that they care despite all the crap going on.

Anyway. whatever those things are that are good to balance the “bad.”

Sure.

I imagine we would all like the little things to be perfect because they all feel like little aggravations that we don’t need. And the little aggravations can become “personal” very very fast. Like. ‘I have told them a hundred times so they must know it is important to me but they don’t do anything about it.’

Anyway.

I imagine my friends in long term marriages have mastered balancing the ‘unimportant imperfections’ of their partner.

It doesn’t mean the little stuff isn’t important. It just means that some little stuff is just that – little.

Well.

And then there is the really big stuff. (this is where Tennis magazine comes in)

So. Kim Clijsters had retired to raise a family. She then unretired (and here is where all this marriage stuff comes into play).

Here are some quotes from her husband (a successful European pro basketball player):

“The most important thing I had to know was whether she really meant it or not (the unretiring and playing again) and when I realized that it was something she really wanted to do it was the easiest decision of my life to say, absolutely, I am 100% behind you to do it.”

Next.

So Clijsters (a really good player by the way) is making a pretty improbable run at the US Open maybe a month after she had unretired and her husband is with the kid in the stands:
“all I did was keep quiet. I was just trying to be a good dad and a good support system. I saw the kind of work she put into this and I was just really really happy to see that happen for her.”

(just want to remind everyone here that he is a top grade athlete with an ego and ambition of his own watching someone – albeit someone he loves – being successful in her sport while he had put his own success in his own sport on hold at the time)

Ok.

I admit.

It’s that kind of stuff that makes me believe in marriage and partnership and stuff like that.

Anyway.

That Tennis magazine article and the following post made me want to write something for all my good friends who have marriages I respect and envy. Marriage is only tough I imagine if you let the little shit get in the way of the big shit.

(the blog celebrating 10 years of marriage)
It does not matter how much they love you, men, after having failed at blaming a passing bus, the cat, a shuttle launch in Houston, a dragon in the basement, a bear in the woods, they will ultimately try to blame their flatulence on you. As if.

It is as enduring as the fact that-

They will probably never learn to handle their dirty socks in the precise manner you hope that they would. Women all over the world pour their energy into their husband’s sock disposing  habits.

Inevitably, I’ve come to realize that we are all happier in this house if I just pick up the damn socks myself.

And inevitably, someone will say I just killed feminism by picking up my husband’s socks. But I’d wager that person thinks too much. Because the truth about life and the truth about marriage is that if a person leaves their crusty dried up socks on the floor, they most likely aren’t the kind of man who cares if there are dirty, crusty, vile, ass-tastic socks on the floor.  You can make this an issue for more than a decade if you want, but all you will have done is driven both of you crazy when in fact it takes 5 seconds to chuck the offending socks into the hamper. You can twist an issue every which way. You can imbue it with all sorts of bloated insinuations of how your husband does not love you/ is an inconsiderate moron who takes you for granted/ treats you terribly because you find random balls of sock about the house, but really the truth is, it’s not about you. He’s just a beastly cave man who likes to free his feet of sockdom where ever he may be.

And there is really no point in trying to change that about him. If you don’t want them on the floor, pick them up. He’ll never notice. And before you begin to believe this is because he is obviously ungrateful for all you do for him; consider this: You are no picnic to be living with either.

That’s right. I said it. Living with another human being can be a serious pain in the ass.  Especially when you’ve got that whole til death do us part thing hanging over your heads. This goes beyond socks. There are parts of your life that will be hideous-miserable. There will be days you will wish you  never said I do. Days when you become your ugliest self and lash despite your better judgment. There will be days where you put Divorce Court on the tube and wonder out loud how long of a wait there is to get on the show.

But having now survived ten entire years of this, I say it warmly and with fondness.

Marriage is a funny animal. So are the humans who do their best to navigate it. But it’s not all that hard. There is a formula; It goes like this: Don’t be so worried about his G-D socks all the time. In other words, most likely the best place to look when you are mad at your spouse is at yourself. Sure you can be mad about the socks. You can harp on him about it. You can make him feel defensive. You can put negative energy between you for a pair of crusty socks. You can even keep a running list of socks you find and how each one is an assault on your being. But then you’ll get around to thinking your marriage is hopeless and so many other yards have really green grass and that you don’t have love and happiness in your life and well, that can kind of blow.

You’ve got to choose your battles, because there will be real ones that matter far more than socks. So when you find a sock on the floor,  just toss it. When you are at odds with your beloved sockless cave mate, when you feel he hasn’t listened or honored your feelings or wishes, because that is what it is almost always about beneath the laundry pile, take a deep breath and respond in the most loving way possible. This is not easy. I fail often. But I have learned how much it matters. You can get mad as hell and live that way, or you can pause to say I honor and love you. Sometimes you drive me nuts, but I am willing to see it your way. I chose you for better or worse. You will find this is magic for when such simple words are uttered the response is warm in turn. Suddenly,  old, crusty-socked beast of a jerk-face cave man really does love you after all. You will find that it is easy to allow each other the delightful luxury of growing and being the persons you inherently are.

Your cave man is truly wonderful and romantic, really. He cares about your feelings. And no, he doesn’t bring home flowers or jewelry or other lame gestures of symbolic romance, I am talking the real kind of romance. Those moments when you catch him covering you in the night when your blankets have fallen to the side or the way he still smiles as he did when you walked down the aisle all those years ago. You will wonder where the crazy kids you were somehow became this picture of him holding your daughter, walking her to school, snuggling you both on Sunday mornings.  You will find him doing odd things like picking up his dirty socks and throwing them in the hamper; you will find he has been doing it more than you gave him credit for all along.

Keep at it long enough and you realize that for better and for worse, you’re pretty much living happily ever after, you know, if you dim the lights and use a soft focus.

It’s a good life, and you’re surviving it. It doesn’t get much better than that.

( Happy Anniversary, Michael. I love you. All the time always, and your dirty socks too. )

There you go.

All said and done I tend to believe this woman’s blog post couldn’t say what is great about marriage any better.

Congrats to all of you happily married.

You are part of the lucky ones in life.

Enlightened Conflict