Tuesday, June 30, 2009

P to the C

Sunday, June 14, 2009

One day I went to Switzerland

Or rather, Switzerland came to me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Crossing Lines

I've been contemplating a title for my blog that would accurately represent my current standing in this ever-changing and potentially frightening world I live in. But everything I have come up with in the past has either been too cliche or essentially meaningless.

The other night as I was searching the web for new photographers, one of my new favorite past times, I came across this awesome photo of these snails entitled "Crossing Lines." I immediately saw this photo - and its title - as a metaphor for my life.

I've been wondering - why are we, as human beings and children of God, so constantly limited in our thinking? I've grown up in an environment where one lifestyle, one religion and one education system has been dominant and ultimately acceptable. I believe that this idea of a dominantly acceptable lifestyle can be found pretty much anywhere you go. They'll all be different, but they will all fit into a relatively unmalleable mold unique to that geographical location.  Afterall, it is human nature to surround ones self with those who share similar lifestyles and viewpoints. This is all good and well, but there comes a point in life when this single-mindedness is no longer sufficient to live a fullfilling and well-rounded life. We need to open our minds and take some risks - cross some lines - physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually.

For me, this point in my life came on a February night in 2008 when I was invited by a friend to move to China for six months to teach English. She was going back to teach for her second time and when she asked if I wanted to go my mouth said, "Yes, that would be so much fun!" But my head was saying things like, "There's no way I can just up and move to a foreign country for half a year. Where would I get the money? How could I take time off school? I hardly even know this girl and it would be uncomfortable to live with people I have never met before..." yada yada yada. These excuses started spilling from my head to my mouth and before I knew it I had declined her offer, for no real reason, and was on my way home. I spent the better part of that night going over my previous thought process. Why had I said no? What was holding me back? What was I afraid of? As I started to realize that this would be an opportunity of a lifetime and that there was really nothing, besides my own unconscious limitations, keeping me from going, my fears started to dissolve and I became more and more sure that accepting this offer would be a breaking point in my life. Needless to say, I called my friend back that same night, told her I was in, and from that point on have been experiencing a sort of personal liberation.

Asia was amazing and it opened my eyes in more ways than I ever thought possible.  But this post isn't about my experience overseas.  It's about everything I have become since then.  I am no longer afraid to take advantage of opportunities that come my way.  My life today continues to be an extension of the life of constant wonder and discovery I lived while in Asia.  Granted, working all day long at a desk doesn't even compare with exploring a new culture first hand, but it's these times of the seemingly mundane that I find I am able to gain the most intellectual expansion if I just take the opportunity to do so. When I'm feeling like my life is becoming less than interesting I like to take myself off autopilot and do something different for my brain like picking up a book in a different genre than I would regularly be interested in, reading a science article about a new discovery, or researching the doctrines and practices of a religion different from my own. I've also experimented with making small changes in my every day behavior such as taking a different route to work or eating and opening doors with my non-dominant hand. It's amazing how your life can change with just a little variety. These small changes will start permeating the cracks of our boxed-in minds and soon enough our intellectual levees will give way and burst from the weight of the constant light we are allowing ourselves to receive. We won't be able to hold ourselves back from discovering different ways of living and learning,  from accepting and embracing those who are completely different than ourselves, from realizing our dreams and making them reality, from making a difference in this world.

I am crossing new lines in my life every day. Just like the snails in the photo, I'm moving at a slow and steady pace, but I'm going somewhere. I have a destination and my gradual pace is allowing me to fully take in all the wonders this life has to offer.  I'm in no hurry to get where I'm going, for I don't really know exactly where that is, but isn't that how life should be?  Shouldn't we revel in the fact that we have the ability to control our own lives and engage in some level of spontaneity?  Lately I've found myself making conscious efforts to cross some of the boundaries I have previously been confined to - to step out of my comfort zone and continually challenge myself.  I've been "getting lost" as a good friend put it.  And I've discovered that the possibilities for my life are endless.  I really can achieve the things I've always dreamt about doing.  This may all sound a little idealistic to many of you, and maybe that's true.  Maybe I am an idealist.  But if idealism is what it takes to allow people to wake up and grab hold of their own lives then I think we should all jump on the band wagon.  I'll be riding it the rest of my life I think, and crossing lines of all shapes and sizes as I go.   

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ah...Welcome Month Six

I've been looking forward to this day for an entire month. Not that the month of May was particularly unpleasant - quite the contrary infact. For me, it was filled with bike rides, BBQs and general enjoyment of the warm weather. But despite the awesomeness of May, I just couldn't get over the fact that the number five would inevitably be present while writing the date. I detest writing fives. I just can't get them right no matter how much I concentrate or practice writing them and this produces slight levels of frustration for me, being the moderate perfectionist that I am.

Thus, a typical day in my May life would go as follows:

Wake up early, enjoying the blissful twittering of the birds outside my window, take a delightful shower, get ready and drive to work while relaxing to some of my favorite tunes (Mirah and Vettevre seemed to be my May music of choice), enjoy a fabulous day at work....so far I'm as happy as a fat kid at McDonald's, right? Right. Until the time comes when I have to write the date. I sit and stare at the paper for a few seconds, willing my mind to hold the pen and control my fingers in just the right way in order to write the perfect five. I'm convinced that today is the day. Today is the day I will write the most beautiful five these stubby little fingers have ever produced. I write the five with perfect confidence, only to end up chastising myself in the end for actually believing I could do something so ridiculously impossible. Crap, that five is the ugliest thing I've ever seen, I sheepishly think to myself. What is that squirrely S-looking blob of a thing I just wrote? *Sigh* I'll never get it right. And from here it's all downhill. I spend the rest of the day focusing on my imperfections and inadequacies and comparing myself to others who can write perfect fives. I'll never be like them.

So this is my ode to June. ODE TO JUNE, the sixth month - and may the world end before the year 2055, or 2015 for that matter.