Enlightened Conflict

nights bigger than imagining

June 2nd, 2017

stars and night sky

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“And the nights, bigger than imagining: black and gusty and enormous, disordered and wild with stars.”

 

—–

Donna Tartt

 

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“This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.”

 

T.S. Eliot

 

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Well.

 

stars and planets at nightDespite the fact most nights remain the same amount of hours, minutes and seconds day to day a sleepless night can often look bigger than imagined. I have found that sleepless nights are less about restless minds and more about capacity in a squeezed space.

 

Huh?

 

Let me tackle squeezed first.

 

In general the world is a pretty vast place and our lives can seem fairly inconsequential. The good news about this is that within all that vastness there is a lot of room to let some of the more horrible or horribly mundane crap just slip by.

 

The bad news occurs when all of a sudden Life, and the world, shrinks and you feel squeezed. And this can happen a lot easier than one may think.

 

Ponder what I am going to say as “the big squeeze.”

 

Everyday everyone faces some naturally occurring ‘shrinking’ aspects which in and of themselves can’t shrink your Life enough to matter. Let’s just say this is the daily grind of work, chores and family & Life commitments. Some things go well and some things don’t.sometimes the smallest things

And then, of course, there will be a day or two where the things that “don’t” significantly outnumber the things that “do.” because this is day to day shit I view this as getting squeezed from the sides. They kind of suffocate you a little.

But set that aside for a moment.

 

And then there will be some days where you have that ad hoc shit you have to plan to get done … the faucet is dripping, the car engine light is on, someone hit the mailbox, crap like that. 95% of the time this kind of shit never goes as planned. It takes too long or it doesn’t get done right the first time or … well … suffice it to say … the easy stuff never gets done as easily as you would want.

And then, of course, there will be a day or two where the things that never get done as easily as you want actually end up just not going right. This is stupid little shit … but maybe think about it as maybe getting squeezed from underneath – an unexpected aggravating shift on the ground below you.

But set that aside for a moment.

 

And then there will be some days where you turn on the TV or maybe scan the internet news breaks and … well … some shit has hit the fan. Your country has made some monumental decision that seems to shift its place in the world.

Some nutjob terrorist has committed some heinous act to innocent people.

Some “thing” happens that feel like a shift in the bedrock of ‘what is.’ It may not directly affect you but you sense that it is a monumental thing which will most likely affect you <even though you aren’t sure how yet>. This is big shit … this just makes you feel a little like the weight of the world has gotten a little heavier and the world as you have known it has become a little murkier. You are getting squeezed from above.

But set that aside for a moment.

 

life big squeeze

 

Now.

 

I will now get to capacity.

 

Let’s assume on one day all there of things happen … you get squeezed all on one day. Oddly, this becomes a test of your capacity <which implies largeness>. And, yes, maybe it is about largeness. As in how large you can remain as you get squeezed.

 

Some nights it isn’t easy to not get suffocated.

Other nights you find your capacity and push back a little.

Most nights you find just enough largeness to not get … well … too little.

 

But the nights in which all three aspects I outlined squeezed you I would suggest … well … the word ‘forlorn’ comes to mind.

 

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“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

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I use forlorn because I associate it with capacity as I am discussing it today.

Forlorn has a sense of shrinking to it in that the good in Life seems to shrink forlorn bird in a cage squeezeand that which is bad seems to grow and you are left with that wretched forlorn feeling which dogs you throughout a sleepless night. Forlorn seems like it is more appropriate than lonely or lonesome in that it specifically embraces a senses of wretchedness and desertion or abandonment … in my mind … ‘despairing of the arrival of a friend … in this case … a friend called Hope.”

 

To me … all of what I just shared with regard to squeezing and capacity captures the essence of the worst of the worst sleepless nights.

And, if I were a betting man, I would bet we have all had a few of these.

 

Ok.

Here is what I know.

 

Most of us get through these nights. Despite the vast emptiness of a night, more vast than we imagined it should be, we cast about among the chaos of the stars and find some light.

I like to think of it as we clamber through the clouds and exist.

 

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“I will clamber through the clouds and exist.”

 

—-

John Keats

 

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And the outcome of most of these nights, in addition to being tired, is out of the gauntlet of forlornness we seem to come out with a degree of hope. point where too tired despair night get to work

 

Hope for a better day <at minimum> and maybe Hope for something better <at maximum>.

 

In other words, out of the bigness which seems to squeeze us if but for a moment we rummage through a sleepless night … one black and gusty and enormous, disordered and wild with stars … and come out a little less black, a little more calm, a little more ordered and a little more focused on some star.

 

 

We often beat the crap out of ourselves

May 4th, 2017

beat the crap bad days people life

 

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novice-heartbreaker:

 

    Reminder: Everyone has bad days, you don’t have to be your best self everyday.

 

Everyone has days where they are sad, cranky, or lazy.

Don’t beat yourself up for being human, you’re ok. What counts is how you handle yourself and treat people on a regular basis.

 

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Well.

 

I tend to believe everyone thinks Life does a fairly good job of beating the crap out of us almost every day. It tries to beat optimism out of us, hope out of us, positive out of us as well as … uhm … compassion, empathy, fellowship and almost everything good.

It doesn’t always succeed … but it surely tries to beat the crap out of us.

 

And, yet, despite knowing all that … we still beat the crap out of ourselves.

 

It is kind of a little nuts when you think about it.

push-through-bad-days

 

Its nuts because most people don’t set out every day thinking “boy, I hope I have a bad day and do some bad shit.” Most of us set out each day with the intention to do something good … not bad. Most people do the best they can.

 

And, yeah, sometimes that best isn’t that good … or maybe just not as good as our good really is. But that doesn’t mean that simply because we have a bad day or are cranky or even a little lazy that we still don’t do something useful and, in general, conduct ourselves in an honorable fashion.

 

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“The purpose of life is not to be happy.

It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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Look.

beat the crap love myself

I am not suggesting you have to sit around and say “I love myself.”  All I am saying is that you don’t have to beat the crap out of yourself for being human.

 

You have some bad days.

 

You have some days when you are cranky and not particularly pleasant to be around.

 

You have some days when you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning … but you do … and everyone around you wishes you hadn’t.

 

You have some days when you do not feel energetic … may even feel lazy … and you don’t really get shit done that day.

 

None of those things make you bad.

None of those things make it worth beating the crap out of yourself.

 

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“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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Days come and go, opportunities come and go and your ‘bad’ comes and goes.

That’s the way Life goes. You can beat the crap out of yourself if you want but it seems like, if you think about what I just wrote, you would pretty much conclude that even your bad days while they could be better could also certainly be worse.

 

Uh.

That’s called Life and that’s called ‘being human.’beat the crap poo poo people on you

 

Let’s face it.

Every day someone is gonna point out you are having a bad day … and you may not even being have a bad day for fucks sake … it just may be a bad moment.

 

Let’s face it.

Every day some jerkwad is gonna look at you as if you had done something wrong even when you do something right.

 

Let’s face it.

About the only time someone isn’t going to be giving you shit is if you act like a robot … and even then someone is going to bitch about you being ‘too consistent’ and too much like a robot.

 

 

Anyway.

 

beat the crap situation define 1

I have used a couple Emerson quotes/thoughts today because  he abhorred how society tried to grind everyone into a simplistic repetitive cycle of ‘expectations, reward & recycle.’

 

He abhorred how society beat the crap out of people their individuality so that they turned into something that they weren’t born to be.

 

He abhorred the fact the more we got the crap beaten out of us by society & Life beat the crap situation define 2the more difficult it was to break free from the grip of what society expected and demanded of us.

 

No one said that being yourself was easy.

And it seems like beating the crap out of yourself doesn’t make it any fucking easier.

 

Everyone has bad days. What counts is how you handle yourself and treat people on a regular basis.

 

So stop beating the crap out of yourself … that is Life’s job.

but I’m all I have

April 13th, 2017

saved thoughts think dark messy self

 

“I’m not much but I’m all I have.”

 

Philip K. Dick

 

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“I’m still learning to love the parts of me that no one claps for.”

 

Rudy Francisco

 

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“Before I travelled my road I was my road.”

 

—–

Antonio Porchia

 

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Ok.

 

Me against the world.

understand blows awayI imagine everyone feels that way on occasion. And maybe at that time, or another time, you will also feel “whew, the world is against me” and question whether you have what it takes.

And then there will be the times you suck in your breath, stand up a little straighter and say “WTF, I’m all I have … and I better clap for the parts of me that maybe no one sees, or acknowledges, but are the things that are actually help me in the me against the world.”

 

Now.

 

A shitload of people are gonna say that most people are never really alone in this “against” thing and that if you carry the burden of “against” solely, as an individual, you decrease your odds of not only being able to carry such a burden but also to actually have some success.

 

So, sure, it is definitely a “team” <or “village”> world.

 

So, sure, success is almost completely dependent upon being able to figure out at least some way to assimilate into a larger group, interact with others or share some responsibility to multiply efforts.

 

And, yet, ‘pulling your own weight’ is a 100% individual, I, thing.

 

Let’s face it.

 

Team or no team, village or no village, organization or no organization … there will be points in Life and your career where it will be “I am all I have.”

 

And … at all points in Life we are responsible to ourselves for our own existence.

 

And … if you face that as Life truths then … well … it seems that, consequently, you would want to be the pilot of your existence ship and refuse to let your path be dictated by the whims of the world <which is against you>.

 

And … if you buy all that … well … you are your road, you learn to clap for the parts of yourself no one sees and you realize that you are all you have.light switch on off change

 

I am not suggesting this is easy … nor is this one of those things that happens in your Life like a light switch.

Most of us begrudgingly reach this point grinding our way to a point of acceptance all the way vacillating on accepting ‘I am all I have’ and ‘wishing I was more.’ That vacillation may distill down the most common and visible defect we have as people … inconsistency in how we think about ourselves as well as inconsistency in our behavior <how we react in, and to, certain situations>.

 

 

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“Since vacillation seems to me the most common and visible defect of our nature.”

—-

Montaigne ‘of the inconstancy of our actions’

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I would guess our ‘defect’ isn’t really as bad as we think … mainly because I imagine most of us focus on the wrong things. We focus on the ‘deeds’ or specific actions rather than our inward impulses.

 

That makes sense .

 

kitchen-table-vision-think-lead-transactional-constructIt makes sense because I can see an act, see a behavior, and see an outcome. Inwards looking is a little less concrete and we are also pretty good at twisting our inward impulses through some fairly absurd navel gazing processes which mostly mangle any real conclusions.

 

What makes more sense is to focus on the right thing.

When we live Life right our actions remain steadfast in character so that Life cannot sufficiently bend the enough to matter and yet our actions contain a’ diversity so manifest, sudden and continual.’

 

Everyone should read Montaigne … he may be the ultimate spokesperson for “but I am all I have.”.

 

Our minds vary like the daylight day to day.

 

One courageous deed does not prove one brave.

 

One cowardly deed does not prove one a coward.

 

One smart deed does not prove one intelligent.

 

One stupid deed does not make one an idiot.

 

One deed is simply one deed.

 

What proves who you are is … well … you are what you are as you are always on i am enough chalkboardall occasions.

 

As Montaigne finished ‘inconstancy’ he closes with “… it is not the work of a well-tempered mind to judge us simply by our outward actions; we must search the inward parts, and see by what springs the impulse give.”

 

No outside person can truly search the ‘inward parts’ … only “I” can.

Because … well … I am all I have. And, for 99% of us, it is enough.

 

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“I will clamber through the clouds and exist.

 

John Keats

 

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Enlightened Conflict