Friday, April 27, 2007

Thinking Thoughts

Thinking positive has been a difficult step for me. People have often called me a pessimist or a cynic in my life and I've fought to change that part of myself in the last few years.

I've come to a point where on the whole, I am extremely happy. Life is grand, I'm pursuing the things I want and love in life, and I have much to look forward to it. I thank God daily for his blessings, and it is a great improvement over my life a few years back. It's not like I was depressed or doing terrible, but I guess you could say I was stuck in a rut. Perhaps you'd be even kinder and say they were "formative years," for they did force me to become a new sort of person. Don't worry, I'm still me.

So recently I've been thinking about the movie, "the Secret," a film of questionable ideas, which I find quite intriguing. It's a film akin to "What the *bleep* do we know?" and it talks about the Law of Attraction. It claims that the things that happen to us in life are the result of our thoughts, the ideas and images we are holding in our minds attract like situations/objects into our paths. I'd like to avoid the self-centered focus on material goods which this video portrays and turn attention back to the basic principle it portrays. I look at my life in the last three years and I immediately notice that I like my life much more, good things are happening to me and life goes in a basically better pattern than it did before. Since I started thinking positive, I've changed a lot and so have the things that have happened to me. I'd say that's a start worth noticing. So in short, I'd have to lean toward agreement with the movie and believe that our thoughts really do have some impact on the reality around us. I'm not going to argue how much or how it works other than to say that to some significant extent, it does work.

This brings me to my biggest concern, the biggest roadblock I am finding in life. The movie mentions how negative reactions tend to cycle. People at work complain about the same problems and they only get worse. Your friends are always sick or always struggling with money or always having trouble with relationships and it always seems to be the same old story. The movie claims that it's in large part because of their continual thought pattern on negative occurances that negative occurances continue to happen.

I've been thinking about this a lot, because I'm the kind of person that has a hard time letting go. If I'm in an argument, my stubborn mind continues to mull over all the details of the argument over and over inside long after debate is through. If something negative occurs it is easy to continue thinking about it. You want to go to your friends and tell them all about your bad day. In some cases it feels to me like a release. Talking about it seems to help sometimes, because I can get the matter off my chest, hopefully find some support, feel justified in my bad reaction and go on with my day. If I don't find support I continue to mull. Maybe not all of you are remotely like me. I've always been stubborn, so maybe it's a little bit a part of my personality. But maybe it's just a bad habit that has not been dealt with and continued to grow. The point is, I find it difficult to let go, to let those negative occurances slip by and leave them behind me in a matter of minutes. I'd very much like to, I've very much tried to, and I still very much think it is possible. Still, it is my biggest roadblock, and I see it ruining my days. One bad thing happens to ruin my mood, one false word maybe, and I'm thinking about it the whole day, and then later that day, I'm given something else to think about, and then I'm in a bad mood for a week, and it's tough to get back to the thankful, positive, hopeful, joyful person I've been trying to be these past few years.

Maybe a lot of my thoughts are just nonsense, but whether you buy into the whole load of whathaveyou about quantam physics and the power of the mind, I know that many people understand to some extent what I'm talking about. With the exception of my dad and a few other weirdos out there, most people seem struggle with the negativity that is all around them in this life. Maybe I just need a little extra sleep. maybe I'm a little too busy. Maybe this or that or the other thing.

But then I think, are we really supposed to be happy all the time? Lots of people, wise people even, I'm sure would say no. We can't be, they'd say. Sadness is a part of life as much as happiness, pain as much as ease, toil as much as rest. But that's not how life was meant to be, I'd say. Maybe, just maybe, that's not the way it's supposed to be. Maybe we're supposed to be happy, but we're not always because we don't believe we can. We live our lives with so many assumptions, how can we tell reality from perspective, especially if there isn't really a difference.

I confess, now I'm confused. If you've got an open mind, but a careful one, see "the Secret." I'd like to know what other people think about it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Child can always teach an adult

"A child can always teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires."

Interesting reflections to me from the book, "The Fifth Mountain." When I see children running with all their might with no particular goal but the joy of running, I wonder what has happened to us as we've grown older. How do we forget to live life with such enthusiasm, with such inflamed ardor. How do we grow complacent and fat. How is it that we come to accept our fate instead of choose it, when God has given us the divine right to wrestle for his blessing. That is the primary theme of this book I'm reading: that we should choose our fate, not accept it. It fits with what I've been reflecting on in life, with other sources that have been influencing me recently, only it is much more God-centered in its mindset.

In this book Elijah recalls the Jacob story, where he wrestled with God and achieved for himself a new name, which God bestowed on him. What he does not recollect is that the angel of the lord who wrestled with Jacob finally gave him a lame leg to end the contest. Jacob prevailed, but he had difficulty walking the rest of his life. I don't know what particular lesson might be in that fact, which may support or defy the lesson of the Fifth Mountain, but I find it interesting. Food for thought.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Fifth Mountain

I've started reading a book called "The Fifth Mountain." It is by one of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho, a brazilian, international bestseller. He's the guy who wrote the Alchemist, a book, to put it simply, about following your dreams. This book is a retelling of the Elijah story, and he has a little forward in the book talking about events of his own life, challenges that appeared to be setbacks, hardships that could discourage one from achieving their end, but which are really steps along the way. He sets Elijah up as a man who was meant to be a prophet of God and wanted to just be a carpenter instead. His life is interrupted by dreams and visions and voices in his head. God tells him to send a message to the king, and he does so thinking that after his task is done, he can just go back to his normal life. But instead, the act triggers a slaughter by the wicked queen Jezebel against all those loyal to the true God. It is a simple, but intelligent interpretation and I really find it compelling. I would suggest reading it, along with the Alchemist, to anyone interested in these ideas. I feel really good about reading it at this stage in my life, while I am in the middle of pursuing the life I was "meant" to live.

I like how my finances keep working out. I keep worrying about them, not to the point of fretting, but enough that it sometimes becomes burdensome and I need to pray hard and remember that everything is going to work out right, and it does. I had a tooth problem, and I had to get a root canal done. This was at a time when I was just beginning to build back up my dwindled savings, and I had to pay for that. Then I found out that I would have to pay a whole bunch more for a crown on that same tooth. But when I went to the dentist for the crown, he looked at it and said he thought it would be fine if he jsut put a filling in it instead, and I did that and it saved me like 600 bucks. Big load off my chest there. Perhaps more clear an example to me of how things just keep working out just right was last week at work. I was working on Friday lunch and I happened to have no rehearsal that night, and Cassie happened to be busy, and a girl happened to call me and ask if I wanted to pick up a shift that night, so it worked out perfectly and I did. I made some extra money, and it worked out just right, because last night and today were extremely slow and I hardly made a fraction of what I expected to make. It's not that I would be fretting or scared, but I'm just impressed how the details fall into place.

I'm going to Brazil in June, and I'll be gone for ten days. It's just for fun - Cassie has a friend down there and we're going to go visit her. I'm excited. I'm really glad that Cassie motivates me to do things I love but might not otherwise do. It really is a blessing to me.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

ginger snaps

We had a mafia party tonight. It was really fun. I was never the mafia again on this night. That makes one game and one game only, out of several sessions over the past three months that I have actually been mafia. I really like trying to read people. What a great game. I do miss playing with my friends in Minneapolis. I often think of people I've enjoyed playing with a lot and I wish I could get them all together in one group and see what happens. I don't know why, exactly. It just fascinates me.

Rehearsal is going quite well. I'm enjoying all the blocking and music. I enjoy the chance to shine on the stage and to have my moment in the spotlight. I have to admit it is quite thrilling to me. It's fun working with great people, too. The director is great; the cast is really nice and really fun, supportive and decent people.

It seems I've had a shortage of deep thoughts lately. I believe I have just had a very different pace of life. I've been more busy and active. I've had a lot of wonderful time spent with my girlfriend. I've been working and playing hard. It just leaves little time for pondering the mysteries of the universe. It's not that I've stopped pondering, really, but it is probably not as much. Sometimes I feel like it's the land around me, too. It feels like you really need to dig deep to find water, in a spiritual sort of way. Or I get the sense that the nourishment of the spirit is all funneling into the primary task of "bearing fruit." I've mentioned before that I believe that I have entered what I might call the spring time of my life. To me that means that all my life energy is beiing put to this task. It's a time for planting, for growth, for rain, for sunshine, for budding, for roots deepening, for vitality, for all those experiences and qualities, physical and figurative, which have to do with Spring. I'm mainly working on expunging old unwanted habits and instilling new ways, new and fresh thoughts and patterns of life. I really like the idea of new life.

Anyway, I feel like I'm on the verge of babbling. Sometimes I wish I had something more profound to write, but then I realize that's entering the realm of vanity, for it is not so much a desire to be of great benefit to all with my vast profundity, so much as a desire to be esteeemed as a deep and profound (oxymoron?) person. So I'll stop here, fearing that I have already waxed more poetic than I meant; I'll quit before my attempt at profundity loses even the appearance of such.

p.s., there's no reason for the title of this blog. none.