Thursday, December 13, 2012

Let's Eat Some Pasta! Or, Look Who's Back from the Dead!

Ahoy! Yes, it is I! You didn't know I was taking a bloggery hiatus did you? Well, neither did I, but there it is.

I've mentioned in previous posts my random bouts of creativity-suck that seem to happen periodically and as a result the bloggery world is not graced with my wisdom for sometimes several weeks... months even. I generally try to pin this down on spectacular busy busy busyness or, head exploding stress. See school for example. School will suck everything happy and creative and discretionary right out of you. You could say - its a soul sucker. Probably why I'm thinking I'll head back down that dark path soon - apparently all academics are also masochists. Makes sense - otherwise no one would get a PhD.


This creativity-suck could mostly be attributed to those dark places we must go sometimes. It's like swimming with cement shoes - all you can think about is not getting pulled under.

But lately, I've felt the sunshine seep back into my soul! School had nothing to do with it because oh happy joy joy! I graduated from that soul suck over a year ago... after which I entered the "lazy period" and then one of those dreamy gray times where life's kind of floating about eerily. That generally happens right before... dun dun dun.. the dark zones. I also find you don't realize things are a soul suck or you've just waded through a personal dark zone until you close that chapter of your life and then look back - weeks, months, maybe so much as a year later and think, "yep... I was drowning and that's why I didn't blog, have motivation to do anything ever, and felt like the entire world was frozen and empty." Some things do that to you. And those things, though good for us in the long run, eventually need to be stamped out. Endured. And then squashed like a BUG! Enduring is a tricky word, isn't it? I think sometimes we don't really understand what it means until we've had a nice healthy round of endurance. Perhaps you long-distance runners can relate to this idea since you rely so heavily on endurance to finish the race. To push through because you know there's a finish line. You  know after "x" amount of miles - you no longer have to endure. You've finished. You're done. Now for a big plate of pasta! It helps to know the end from the beginning.

 I think what takes endurance to the next level is not knowing - but just having to believe that the finish line is there and that when you finally make it - there's a big plate of pasta waiting just for you. Not knowing how far you'll have to go, if that steep uphill climb is the last of them, hoping that around this corner, or this corner, or this corner, the finish line will appear in the not to far off distance and being disappointed again and again - that's when endurance takes on a whole new meaning - it's called faith. There's some choice in this I suppose. You can hop off the track - try and find a short cut or get lost in the winding streets or simply just plop your sad self down on the road. After so long, it just seems like there is no finish line, so what's to be done? I think this idea of endurance is something you can only wrap your head around once you've had to do it. Once you've decided to dig your feet in and decide no matter what lies ahead, you're not only going to keep at it, you're going to do it with whatever you've got. Even if that means walking sometimes to catch your breath. Slow progress is still progress after all.

Another excellent point! Enduring isn't just muddling through though is it? - it's trudging through! with character! Self-discipline, unfailing humility, a deep well of patience, turning the other cheek, long-suffering, not being reactionary, and reminding yourself that one day, you WILL look back and see the beginning from the end. That's when you'll know that what's more important than stretching across that finish line, is knowing you didn't push anyone down, stomp on anyone's toes, or cut any corners to get there. Even if your toes were stomped on, you were pushed down, and your claims for justice would've been completely acceptable - you restrained, you kept your wits about you, and you never let reaction dictate your actions. No. It's better to maintain your own self-respect in the long run than secure fleeting feelings of triumph because of one reactionary word, one justifiable quip, or one hearty slap to the face. SMACK! Even when you think that hearty slap would feel ohhhhh soooo goood.

I read something awhile ago that has completely changed my interactions with everyone I meet and gave me a new perspective on what it means to endure. It was particularly poignant when facing those who find happiness in the failures of others - those who during my own dark zones - were heavy burdens for me to bear. It is one word.. and that word is Genshai (GEN-shy), and it means that you should never treat another person in a manner that would make them feel small. This struck me in a very powerful way - it took the idea of "treat others how you want to be treated" and elevated it. Genshai is brotherly love and charity combined. It's purity of interaction and it allows us to walk a mile in each others shoes - it bounds us together in common experiences - and elevates us all to a higher plane. The timing of my discovery of this word helped me not only endure - but to endure without regret. I wasn't perfect - but I was aware and that awareness kept my self-respect in tact. And though there are many more races ahead, I think I will be able to endure them even a little bit longer and feel little bit lighter if I apply Genshai - that I will never treat anyone - and I emphasize ANYONE - in a way that would make them feel small.

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