Archive for the ‘ ponders ’ Category

We think it will be more…

be anti-corner

be anti-corner

Life.  It seems that it should somehow among to something more than the little moments that add up to make twenty-four hours and days and years.  But, in fact, it is within the moments, not accumulated.  Life is in the moments, and if we spend our time looking for the next moment, looking for the Life around the corner, we will forever chase a shadow of who we could be.  Because we are only being with half our selves, we miss the full measure of who we are.

Don’t look around the corner.

Be.

Being Tired.

the drama of exhaustion

the drama of exhaustion----uncanny things happen when you're tired

Exhaustion.

Tired.

Worn out.

But, ironically, able to survive.

Live.

Love.

Smile.

It is a circumstance but also a choice 😉

The Psychology of Provision

money makes the world go around, the world go around

money makes the world go around, the world go around

I remember when I learned what money meant.  It wasn’t only dollars and cents; it was divisions and definitions.  Who you are, what you can have, what you can’t have, how you can make a life for yourself–all these things manifested materially.

It was Barbie.  In the Walmart toy aisle.  With the red cowgirl outfit.

Mom explains that she was expensive.  Like a Christmas gift.  Suddenly, the $20 on her price tag took on value.  They represented the paper money in Mom’s wallet, the hours Dad was gone during the day working to earn that money, the weeks and months I would have to wait to have her, and the thrill of possession when she was finally mine.  Although the toys have changed, the psychology of provision doesn’t really.

My dad still worries that he can’t provide us enough.  Or he wonders if we are grateful for what we have.  He views life itself as a luxury; we try to problem-solve it.  There is a generational gap, and there is a generational discourse that happens in every penny, every exchange.

Toy Story 3 and its preceding films have picked up on this theme of materialization.  The filmmakers at Pixar understand that the abstract expression such as love, care, attention, protection, etc. are made real through objects.  We need food, shelter, and warmth to survive, of course, but those delicacies of philosophy that make Life happen must be brought to earth.  Plastic and metal and electricity and wood–these mediums often bear its weight.  Toy Story 3 was brave enough to take us to the brink of its destruction: what does the deterioration, the breaking down of our material world say about those immaterial things that it represents?  What does my brother’s decision to upgrade his cell phone and get his own plan say about his relationship with my dad?

Fear of Attack and Fear of Failure

the ideology of a map

read Barton&Barton "The Ideology of the Map"

My usual introduction to a new customer that approaches my cashier counter runs something like:

“Hi! Did you find everything you need? Have you shopped with us before? No?  Well then, I am going to create an account for you in our system, which will save all of your receipts for future reference.”

Today, a dad replied that he did not want an account at all—no name, no number, and most certainly no shipping address.  He didn’t want spam and mailings and courtesy calls and all the other infringing crap that corporate (and not-so-corporate) companies thrust down the innocent throats of the consuming public.  I don’t blame him.

But alongside another parent who gravitated toward our e-mail list sign up sheet and instantly provided name, phone, email, and school of attendance, this dad suddenly represented a totally difference approach to life.  There were two paradigms at my counter: fear of attack and fear of failure.

One parent didn’t want to fend off the aggression of civilization.  Another parent didn’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in any way with the ins and outs of said civilization.  One was afraid that he couldn’t protect himself.  One was afraid that he would be sheltered from something beneficial.  Two outlooks.  Two different ways of approach a world that demands out attention and can punish us either way–for hedging ourselves in too securely or volunteering our involvement too freely.

I fall into the second category–volunteering too freely.  Especially as a newly graduated liberal arts student, I forget that I should get paid to do what I do.  I forget that it is illegal for my boss to pay me less than the IRS cents/mile ratio when I travel.  I forget that not everyone I give my business card to should know my street address, where I sleep at night.

Navigating the world is tricky.  And there really are people that choose different tactics than me.  And I should make space for them–like I hope they would make space for me.

Routine = Life Itself

opening a door: routine = life

opening a door: routine =life

There are so many things that we are supposed to do on a daily basis that doing them all (as recommended by your doctor, friends, family, magazine, and pop culture icons) would take a millennium at least.  So, I have long avoided adding anything to my routine…which I have recently discovered is, in fact, my life.

Because of this avoidance, I do not write as much as I want.  Or read.  Or dance.  Or stretch. Or play with my parakeet.

So, I am adding writing to my nightly routine—and maybe it will be worth the longer “to-do” list.  Because, after all, what is a “to-do” list but your plan for making life happen?  It becomes a burden when we put other people’s lives on it.  Other people’s expectations of our activity that end up causing us to live their lives instead of ours.  I am putting writing on my list because I want to write.  I am not putting eating vegetables on my list because my doctor, not me, wants me to eat more vegetables.

I want to talk.  I want to write.  I want to say things and create meaning because therein is the significance and the delight (and the toil) of life.  Could I keep quiet and find reward in doing my hourly job well? Having clean laundry and a straight room and ice cream for dessert? And be happy? Yes.  Most certainly.

But I also kind of want something more.  Not because my life is insufficient, but because I realize that I am living life intentionally or not and I would rather choose what I am doing, put some desire into it, than simply fulfill expectations on behalf of other people.  So, tonight, I will be getting fifteen minutes less sleep because I wrote this rambling blog.  But eventually, those fifteen minutes each evening might accumulate into fifteen Original Thoughts that coalesce meaning and significance out of my daily routine–or perhaps simply lend expression to the significance already there but imperceptible apart from a fifteen minute staring contest.

The Horror of Losing Animation

The original post that shared this video commented that three years ago this short animated film about two girls that are trafficked into the sex industry would have been sensationalist.

Now, it is not. This reality is growing too familiar.

But animating the horror of human trafficking reinvigorated its tragedy. Whether victims are kidnapped as children or lured as women, trafficking manipulates and destroys the innocent expectation of good in the world. It is the expectation and hope of something better, perhaps marriage, perhaps a career, that is twisted toward their own destruction. This wounding goes deeper than physical trauma. The energizing vision that we have as children might be matured and focused as adults, but it is the power that pushes us forward.

And these women are arrested. Forced into stasis. Coldness. Immobility.

Some escape–their energy breaks through their bonds.
Others are still imprisoned, regardless or perhaps because of their rebellion.

This animated short articulates the deepest cut, the tragic manipulation of life’s energy into its own destruction.

little girls dream...

Body-Conscious

Fike Fitness Center: all the exercise machines were full when I was there

all the exercise machines were full when I was there

I grew up as a gymnast.  I know how to work out and be cool and physically fit.

And I was totally intimidated walking into the fitness center on campus!  The space is crannied and cramped, full of sweaty people–many of whom you know but wouldn’t dream of acknowledging, since you’re covered in sweat after jogging once around the track (which is a mere 1/10 mile!).  The eclectic mix of brick and sheet rock, mortar and metal makes it an interesting space to study while you’re walking in circles like a lost dog on the track above the basketball courts.  But the whole layout feeds into body consciousness of the highest degree:

There’s a pit.  A pit full of weights and machines, surrounded by other machines all facing into the pit.  It’s like the Roman coliseum or something!  Watch men flex their strength before swooning ladies, who don’t get the glamor of the sport but have the pressure to maintain perfect bodies.  So they’ll run in place in their cute little spandex outfits while they watch you flex your muscles and prove your virility.  The personal TVs are nice, but then it reminds me how media-obsessed our culture has become.  There is no solace in the simple quiet of private physical exertion–we have to always multi-task!

I really am not as bitter as I sound about working out.  It’s super refreshing to feel your body exert itself to respond to your cues to run and breath deeply and stretch and curl and lift and reach and flex.  And there’s a certain equalizing effect: everybody is sweaty and dying.  And people of all ages are there, enjoying all different kinds of workouts.  And if you go with a friend, there is a deeper sense of companionship that somehow happens when you look at each other and are both red in the face.  You laugh but not at each other–good healthy, motivating fun 🙂

Maybe I’ll go back to the gym…