- I have nightmares about it
- In those nightmares, I cry
- That should be justification enough
- Sometimes I wake up crying, and continue to cry until I realize it was a nightmare
- This is actually happening to someone very close to me right now, and I tell her often how sad I am for her and her loss and I frequently mourn in her behalf
- It is not uncommon that I fall asleep praying that this doesn't happen to me
- If this did happen, I would cry for days, nay, weeks.
- Then I would attempt to embrace it
- And then I would fail
- The fear of this has been a catalyst to fearing the following things:
- new foods
- a bad grade
- an important test
- breathing the wrong air
- See why it's not irrational?
Please meet Hannah.
Hannah built a matrix.
A matrix of awesomeness out of clothing items.
With Hannah's matrix her originality won't run out for some 27 months, if I'm not mistaken.
From many a hipster I have learned that it is cool (but like one-of-a-kind, unique cool) to have, be, wear, or do what no one else has ever had, been, worn or done.
Hannah, the hipsters, and the embracing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ have spurred a schizophrenic conversation in my head and it's been going for quite some time. It entails topics such as originality, individuality, and the ever-flowing body of water that we call mainstream, both within the realm of my religion and outside of it.
How much of what you think is original is the original? This started when I wondered who thought of parachute pants. We are born imitators. Whether from the conscious or subconscious that is what we do. We imitate what we see and experience. How did we learn to walk, talk, and throw food? Imitation, baby. Despite what you just assumed, I'm not discounting creativity or saying that it doesn't exist, rather that it is often wrongly defined. Creativity is bringing something about that doesn't naturally evolve or come about through natural processes. It is not something built from nothing, because you didn't start with nothing. You always start with something: an idea, an object, something you learned previously that was gathering dust in the back of your mind whether you were aware of it's presence or not.
There are many facets to this topic and I can't attempt to voice my opinion about all of them, so this will be a more focused opinion on just one aspect of the whole ginormous thing.
In this, as I said, is the battle of how to embrace that endeavor of becoming like that person that more than 2 billion people are trying to be like (Jesus, in case you didn't know). In that effort where does individuality come in? How are you like Him but an individual at the same moment? In the rise and the fall of it I have learned much. From many sources comes encouragement to be unique, to find a niche, and to be no one but yourself. We are pushed to "find ourselves" and once that is found to be our "best self", but not to conform and become another lemming without any meaning in our march. So how do I be like Jesus, but be myself? This is where the awesomeness begins. Brace yourself. Are you seated? In trying to be like Him, you grow out of bad and good things into this person that is loving, kind, and devoted but with traits that only you have. You love the way that only you can love. You be kind in only a way that you can be kind. And you give in a way that only you can give.
To become like Jesus is to be the best version of you that is possible. He doesn't want you to be Him. He wants you to be you but be like him. Love, give, and care but in your own way.
I watched the movie on an international flight and spent the other 18 hours wishing I hadn't watched it, because I wanted to read the book instead.
"Most of humanity, he said, have eyes that are so caked shut with the dust of deception they will never see the truth..." (155)
"Devotion is diligence without assurance. The decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don't care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational; it isn't. If faith were rational, it wouldn't be--by definition--faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be...a prudent insurance policy." (175)
"It's not much use to send prayers out to the universe that are lazy...ultimately you're more likely to get more out of the experience if you can take some action on your end. Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention." (176-177)
"This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn't have the specific ritual you're craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet. If you bring the right earnestness to your homemade ceremony, God will provide the grace. And that is why we need God." (187)
"The hub of calmness--that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace." (207)
"Mario told me that he is only happy when he can maintain himself--mentally and spiritually--at the intersection between a vertical line and horizontal one, in a state of perfect balance. For this, he needs to know exactly where he is located at every moment, both in his relationship to the divine and to his family here on earth. If he loses that balance, he loses his power." (227)
"...people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will leak away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments." (260)
"The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people." (261)
"Am I centered enough now to be the center of somebody else's life?" (311)
"In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices." (334)
Here is a link to buy the book on Amazon.
The TED video in this post is her as well. Enjoy.