Memo to myself.
Address your needs:
And be a beacon to the greater glory of God.
My cynical 20 and 30-something self, who, upon seeing person after person suffer and die in hospitals, scoffs at the above statement. Heck, I’ve just recently been able to say “God” and capitalize it and everything. I had not done so since High School.
Meanwhile, the 7-year self understands fully that the universe, while chaotic, is also a great deal of fun. And where’s it come from, if not from God?
Here I am, 35 years old, and I am both these people, and more. I contain multitudes. I am belief and unbelief. I am realist and optimist and cynic. What I think and feel has a real impact on my life. These things *are* my life. And today, this morning, I think and feel that I am not a washed up child prodigy. I am not the boy genius who failed to live up to his potential. I am not a failure. These labels are not me, but they harpoon me, cutting a hole in me, subduing my true nature. Playful, instructive, passionate, loving, positive, enigmatic, enthusiastic.
How the Hell did I let the curmudgeon, the cynic, the naysayer, the lollygagger, the slug take over my outlook? And for years! I love those parts of me too, they are me, but they can’t take control. They can’t take things for granted. They can’t let fantasy be more important than my life. They can’t make me abandon the things I love.
This enthusiasm is scary because it feels so fleeting. When the humdrum hits, will the minus come back and snuff out the plus? How can I live and experience my life authentically and still feel the negative emotions? Feeling happy about everything is just another kind of unreality. I want to feel my feelings, and know that I am a person greater than just the sum of my feelings.
I am very thankful to my Transcendental Meditation instructor from High School. The tools I learned in that class have suddenly, 20 years later, proven very useful.
I feel like a pinata right now, bursting!
Integrity, Creativity, Honesty.
I’m back. Back with verve.
February 18, 2006 8:07am
Thank You Nate. And thank you for your perspective. I do not feel shame for it, but it is something different than what I have done for a long time. But at this time in my life, and perhaps for all time, it’s something I need and will pursue.
I appreciate your thoughts very much Nate. Further, I appreciate very much your kindness and love towards me. I assure you it is reciprocated. I have felt nothing but love from the All the Roberts. I pray that I can reciprocate that.
February 17, 2006 7:14pm
I don’t know if you were looking for counter arguments when you wrote the blog, but in response to your “friend” who “values your not pushing your religious views on others,” I’ll share mine. The farther I get from God the less sense my life makes. The less any of it matters. I literally begin living to die. I fail to value others as well. I fail to value myself as well, nor the brief miracles of the day that otherwise go missed.
We all have our own experience in life, I guess. I think looking to God is a great idea! He becomes the glue for all things good and gives substance to structure. You never need to be ashamed of that!
February 16, 2006 12:26pm
Al: Doesn’t sound funny at all, sounds like your own personal spiritual story. It sounds like you may have an existentialist thing going on. That’s rad.
I love these perspectives! Awesome!
February 16, 2006 11:58am
Yeah, I know talking about spirituality is a personal journey for most people, but it’s something that I keep hearing and it adds up to a bit of an echo – that spirituality is something that can be “lost” and “regained” and that you just have to venture through one end to the other. It seems to “frame the debate”, if you know what I mean, something that colors all the perspectives accordingly.
Just so this doesn’t sound like psychobabble, ask yourself this: have you ever heard of someone saying the exact opposite? Something along the lines of, “I believed in God and was just so miserable, it was dragging me down, and then one day I discovered atheism and I’ve finally found my way!” Sounds funny, huh? But that’s the experience I had.
You’ve found your personal happiness and I’m happy for you for that, not just because I know you as a friend and that you’re not the type to push your own beliefs on anyone, but because it sparked a discussion I normally don’t have. This kind of conversation is a prime example of the kind that’s difficult with someone you don’t know, at least for me.
February 16, 2006 11:46am
Not at all Al. I only have access to my own reality and my own truth and my own story.
For me, theism was part of a cohort of beliefs I had that I currently miss. Right now I am full of faith and hope. I can’t explain it more than that at this point. Perhaps tomorrow.
Your own happiness, spirituality, intellect, emotions, and physicality are part of your own reality.
Hope that made sense.
February 16, 2006 11:41am
Not to pick a fight, but I hope you’re not implying that you have to believe in god in order to not be “the curmudgeon, the cynic, the naysayer, the lollygagger, the slug”?
February 16, 2006 8:45am
“Easy does it” I guess is a part of it.
Thanks for the well-wishes and sharing. It means a lot to me today.
I hear what you were about. And I sure as heck know that intellect/smarts are no panacea for life. They guarantee no happiness.
The real happiness happens by inches. Maybe it happens on a skateboard. Or maybe it happens while drawing, or writing some chunky html, or building legos, or whatever.
Like the lotto yo, ya gotta be in it to win it.
February 16, 2006 7:17am
When I was a kid I was in the gifted class. I was always in the advanced classes. I excelled in school. I had years and years of people telling me how smart I was, and how I could do and be whatever I wanted. The problem was I was terminally bored. I was stuck in a little town where everyone was the same rich spoiled kids. I didn’t really WANT anything except to live on my own and take care of myself – to prove I could survive with or without schools and smarts. I became cynical, lazy.
It wasn’t until years later that I realized that while I was still smart, it didn’t really amount to much. Being smart isn’t really what matters. What you DO is what matters. So as long as you try to DO things every day, you’re gonna be ok. There are a lot of smart people who are so smart they think they can sit on their ass and complain about how life is unfair or how the system is keeping them down. That’s not so smart.
There’s a little equation I like to remember:
repeated small successes lead to confidence
confidence leads to prolonged success
repeat ad infitum
Hang in there dude, you’re gonna be all right.