Friday, February 24, 2012

View Life as a Painting

We are taught as children and then as adults to view life as a gradual puzzle. Piece by piece we learn little things, new things, and use those things to help us put together the big picture of life. It is our hope that by the end of our road, we'll understand the big picture, we'll have some sort of grasp, even if shallow, of what the answers are to the questions of the Universe.

But this is daunting and difficult and impossible. When we live in the day to day of hoping to see the meaning of life we live in skepticism. Unsureness breeds frustration which can lead to depression, confusion, and a various amount of things that can wound your spirit. When you live in the day to day, attempting to put together the big picture piece by piece, you realize that you live each day waking up thinking, "Today is just another day. Perhaps by its end I will have found something to make this day worth living." Maybe not in so drastic a sense that would seem this depressed, but that we live each day hoping that by the end of it we've found another piece, which we'll take home and try to find where it fits in the puzzle. In this fashion, you'll be living each day always worried that you have missed something important, something special, that there was a piece to be obtained and now it is gone forever.

But this is all nonsense. Why not live life backward?

Live life more sure of the big picture. Teach your children to find the big picture first, strive to look for the big picture in each day, not just a piece of it. The big picture is ever present and hardly a mystery. Life is to be lived to the fullest. If the biggest mystery is "What is the meaning of life?" surely it is "To live." And I'd assert one step further that the meaning of life is to live through Love; through happiness. Why not wake up thinking, "Life is good. Today is a beautiful day. If I died at this moment I would have taken from today all I have been searching for: Joy." There is joy in every day, and it is possible for joy to course through your veins so that when we reach the end of that road all will see that we ooze gladness.

When you view a painting, do you start by staring at it up close, then back up to a get a sense for what you're looking at? No. When you view a painting you see the whole painting first and only upon getting a sense for the bigger picture do you begin to move closer, analyzing and appreciating the brushstrokes, the colors, the paints, the oils, the technique, all the little pieces.

Why not live life as you would view a painting? As the sun rises, take in the big picture. There is goodness to be had in this day, it has great value. Now live out the rest of it free of the worry that you will miss something, that there will be pieces you won't gather. Life is not a puzzle. It is already complete. But in your day to day, appreciate the brushstrokes, the colors, the paints, the oils, and the technique. Rejoice in all the little pieces. They are abundant and never ending. They are not to be collected only to serve the purpose of making sense of life at its end. They are to be appreciated and cherished now.

When you live so focused on the fear that you will never see the big picture, you will miss the details.

As Bruce Lee said, "Don't think. Feel. It is like a finger pointing to the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory."

Wake up. View life as a painting.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lost Angels

I hated to come to you
Like a beggar at the feet
Of his unwanted master.

There is silent acknowledgment
That you control this future
We all hope to share.

But we hold it against you.
You are like our enemy,
Forced to be our leader.

We are enslaved by your armies;
The congested path in which we must sit
And wait to reach dissolving destinations.

You seem to pit man against man.
His horn becoming his voice,
Condemning his peers for slowing his progress.

And Summer brings heat and air
So foul and thick that it is our food,
Spoiled bread broken in remembrance of dreams that were.

You are where the work is
And now we work for you,
Accepting our blood unwantedly poured out.

We live to serve you
And hate to live this way,
But with tomorrow we turn the other cheek.

And when it is day
We find little to be pleased with
And much to be disgusted by.

You seem to choose between your children
As Sophie makes her choice,
And we are your daughter.

But as the sun sets
And your inner light shines
We see you are not so different.

There is sadness in the beautiful night,
As your purpose becomes clear,
That you work the streets as we do.

The moon shines as your half dollar tear,
Our line in the sand;
Are you half empty or half full?

Your purpose here rings true
For those still searching for our way.
You struggle as we do.

You hope as we hope,
You fight as we fight,
You live as we live.

We have resentment for you,
Though this misfortune you carry
You did not create.

We see you bear a burden,
You take the blame,
But you are not so different otherwise.

It is not you,
But those we let define you,
And our judgment cast is ever the first stone.

This mother cannot stop loving her children.
And though we may be bastards
You keep your wings about us.

We are your Lost Angels
And you are our God.
Though our thanks are begrudged
Please take them.
These hard hearts are soft at this moment
And they are sincere.

Monday, February 13, 2012

You Never Really Know

Whitney Houston passed away Saturday. Immediately social networks exploded with a various amount of responses from those who loved and admired her, or had taken great joy in her music. She'd lived a troubled life of addiction and substance abuse and it was apparent that she fought many demons regardless of what they were or where they originated. And it's also impossible to deny that she was very talented and no doubt changed many lives with her music and touched many hearts. It's safe to say that from this perspective, though some would argue her a negative influence, she was a positive one who, unless you were the person arguing in support of her, you'd never fully understand her influence on somone simply because you are not that person. You can only be you.

All this being said, I was amazed at the amount of sarcastic, cynical, bitter, and even severe comments about how it's sickening and silly to mourn the loss of a woman who was an addict whose problems were self inflicted and shallow in comparison to the thousands of children who starved to death on the same day and got no attention for it. Or the amount of people who died from cigarette smoking, or diseases, sickness, and poverty. The numbers are staggering every day, yet Whitney Houston got all the attention.

I'm not usually one for biting criticism myself, but today is a different day. Today I run the risk of falling onto my own sword, but it's a wound I'm happy to take in order to speak my mind. Today I want to tell those of you who think it appropriate to mock others for trying to show appreciation for a person they liked and/or admired that has passed away, honestly, get over yourself.

No one is actively trying to devalue the many lives lost each day by honoring Whitney Houston, so don't put that blame on them. That is a heavy burden, a cross impossible to carry, yet you think you can cast it upon their shoulders because you want to make a cocky statement. Grow up.

I've dealt with loss and grief in my life. I think we all have and we all will, and the majority of people who speak about losing Whitney Houston never knew her. But who cares. Who are we to devalue the respect and honor people wish to pay to others? We all grieve in our own ways. Though she did face those demons, you never know just how many lives a person can change for the better. But clearly it's better to jump to conclusions to make a statement that shows just how pious and mighty, how worldly and caring you are.

But when your idol passes, whether they be musician, scientist, author, film maker, star, or athelete, we wait with anticipation to watch you fall on your hypocrisy. Because we know you are only human, despite how above it you may hope to be.

Do not attempt to cheapen a person's honoring something or someone that they love and respect. From us that garners nothing but contempt, anger, and confusion.

If the influx of people mourning someone on a social network seems a bandwagon, I don't care. You bite the bullet and you take it. Why? Because you have no idea what that peson may mean to them, and you have no idea who you may upset or anger and what ties you may put in jeopardy of being severed. You know the saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Don't let your subconscious desire for respect and flattery get in the way or your being an honest, kind, and caring person. And honest, kind, and caring people know when to keep their mouths shut and be a shoulder to cry on, not a trap for their friends, family, and peers to unwittingly walk into.

You let us be us and we'll let you be you. No one has the excuse to be anything but the best person they can be. And being the best means being the most Loving. And being the most Loving means, well, I'd hope by now you have some sort of concept of what that's about.

Perhaps this is akin to Chris Crocker's "leave Brittney alone!" only with more text and less crying. But I may be crying, you never know. That's the joy of a blog, I get to appear calm and tearless. But again, because you're not here, because you're not inside my head, you can never really know, can you?

Remember that. You can never really know what someone means to someone else because you are not that person. For this reason, leave it alone and be nice. Be an adult. Otherwise you run the risk of putting your foot in your mouth and upsetting people who don't deserve it.