New Year’s Resolution 2014: Pursuit of Genius

So this is year two in my three year set of resolutions to get my life on track.

I’m not sure what track yet, but we’ll see.

This past year, although I didn’t post about it and only told a handful of people, my goal was to work on my body…dieting, working out, and generally getting in better shape. Or at least the shape I was in during high school.

Well, I’ve lost a lot of weight and I’ve learned a lot of things…but mostly I’ve learned it’s a lot easier to do something like this with support. Last year I couldn’t find the words to explain, but this year after having the one person who was behind me 100 percent move away after a few months of exercising with me, I realized the more support I can get the better.

So first an overview. Basically I decided last year I needed to work on myself. Purely selfish reasons, but I felt so out of balance and out of touch around this time last year I felt I needed to work on body, mind, and spirit. So last year was devoted to my body. I will definitely reaffirm my resolution and put it in clearer and stronger words rather than having some nebulous goal. This year, however, I will be creating an addendum that will be goals for improvement of my mind. Hopefully, that’s enough background and someone else in the world understands why I felt I needed to do this. ūüôā

So, for 2014, I firmly resolve to:

Body:

1. Find and stick to a healthy diet.

2. Work out at least 3 days a week.

3. Get down to a 40 waist, or 200 lbs which ever comes first.

Mind:

1. Learn to only keep important information in my memory.

2. Learn to study and retain information better.

3.Fill my head with important information related to future endeavors.

And well…that’s it.

It won’t be easy, but I hope enough people in my life read this and encourage and support me to help me reach my goals.

Happy New Years everyone!

CG

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A Day Of Reflection: My beliefs

I know this is very late.

I apologize. Life got in the way. A LOT.

But here goes.

Officially, so you have a name to grasp on to I am an agnostic deist.

But in reality, since names have associated connotations either in either a positive or negative direction I’d prefer if we left labels at the door.

This is mainly because people see agnostic, and lump me in with atheists. But I believe in God, for reasons I can’t quite quantify.

Basically, the core of my belief is that we cannot truly know or understand anything about God. Now this is basic logic…since we cannot understand infinity, we certainly cannot conceive of a being who exists beyond our finite existence.

And truly understanding infinity is impossible for a finite being. We can get the concept, or idea of infinity. But actually conceptualizing it doesn’t work. I know this because I’ve been trying since I was first introduced to the concept in mathematics.

Think about an apple. What do you know about an apple? You can probably imagine what it tastes and feels like…everything about it. You understand more than just the concept of the apple. While you may not know the cellular structure of an apple, someone does…it can be known.

Infinity is not something we can know, except as a concept.

Enough about that.

Everything else I believe is a heterogeneous mix of random things that I feel like must be true. I’ll admit it, I’m kind of a picker (think American Pickers) of beliefs. I find one, dust it off, hold it up to the light and if it has value and merit I keep it. If not, I cast it aside.

This means, for the most part, I don’t see the need for organized religion. I believe if you can establish and maintain a relationship with God that has nothing to do with a religion (which are wholly created by humanity in their search for God) why follow a doctrine that you don’t need?

It’s not easy. And I’m not some how saying I am better because I didn’t need religion. I’m just saying that is where I am in my journey…who knows where it leads? I like going to church, and I grew up in a great Christian community. But as with every group there were some hypocrites and I decided when I encountered them that I would never go to church if I couldn’t believe in the doctrine the church put forth.

Basically, the rock solid core of my beliefs is love.

Love for everyone, equality for everyone. I try to treat everyone like my family, and give them the benefit of the doubt. I work hard…not for reward but for satisfaction of a job well done. I do my best to appreciate the little things…basically I take something I learned in Boy Scouts to heart. I do my best. In everything.

Anyway, I hope that was some insight into my beliefs. If you have more questions or thoughts, feel free to comment or email me.

To steal an old old sign off from one of my friends,

Faith, Hope, and Love, always and forever

CG

A Day of Reflection: Tolerance, Trinity, and Baptism

So, apparently I can’t talk about religion with anyone. I just made yet another really good friendship kind of awkward because I was honest about what I believe. Usually it just takes a long time for people to process and we are okay after that but their message is clear…

“No matter what, don’t talk to me about religion any more.”

But this friend, kind of accused me of just enjoying talking about religion and entering into the discussion just to break her faith down (and kind of implied it was “fun”). While I do enjoy discussing philosophy (which any good discussion of religion immediately enters the area of metaphysics), and I do have a highly analytic mind that tends to find flaws and analyze wording and semantics, and I train it to do that…but it’s far from “fun”. I have legitimate honest questions, and when someone gives me proof that doesn’t hold up or that I interpret in a different way…I don’t know what to think of that other than I need more or different proof.

So just in case TL;DR the point is this:¬†Since I can’t find anyone to discuss religion with I’ve decided to “talk” to random people on the Internet about it, at least once a week.¬†

So why not Sunday? While everyone else is in church I will write about my own thoughts on God. This week I have some specific thoughts on my mind directly related to my conversation with this friend, but next week I’ll kind of back up and explain the root of my beliefs and why I feel the way I do.

Okay, so my friend and I were talking and she said that there were three requirements for being a Christian. These were belief in Christ, being baptized, and for the life of me I can’t remember the third one. But I had heard this before, so I asked where in the Bible it talked about these things. She couldn’t remember exactly where so she said she’d get back to me later.

But first, let me talk about the first one. Often times John 14:6 is quoted in response to belief in Jesus as a requirement for worshiping the “right” God.

‚ÄúI am¬†the way¬†and the truth¬†and the life.¬†No one comes to the Father except through me.‚ÄĚ

This seems nicely tied into a bow. He is making an absolute ultimatum. A completely exclusive statement saying anyone who doesn’t believe in me is wrong.

First, ask yourself this: Does this sound like the same man who says “Love your enemies”? Does it sound like the same guy who preaches love and tolerance of everyone every time he turns around? Taken as an ultimatum this statement is very exclusive.

So, to make it fit with the rest of Christ’s message (one of love and tolerance) doesn’t it make more sense if he means “My Father and I are one, if you know me then you know Him as well”. Now by that logic, if you know the Father then you also know Jesus.

Well look at John 14 as a whole:

Verse 7: “If you really know me, you will know¬†my Father as well.¬†From now on, you do know him and have seen him.‚ÄĚ

Verse 10: “Don‚Äôt you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?¬†The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority.¬†Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”

Verse 20: “On that day¬†you will realize that I am in my Father,¬†and you are in me, and I am in you.”

So my next question: Is it possible to come to know God without knowing Jesus?

Verse 23-24:¬†¬†Jesus replied,¬†‚ÄúAnyone who loves me will obey my teaching.¬†My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

Now, Jesus was an excellent teacher and role model. But I say again…is it possible to come to understand the teaching of Jesus (love for your fellow man, tolerance, and a relationship with God) without knowing about Jesus himself?

I say yes. I learn things all the time without a teacher. Now, it’s a LOT more difficult, but if you are from another religion that also believes in these things (read: most other religions) than it should be a lot easier. The textbook is different but the curriculum is the same.

So I ask again: Why is a belief in Jesus necessary for life? It is necessary to be a Christian, but I don’t think it’s necessary for God’s love or acceptance. I’ll just leave it at that.
So for baptism, she told me about John 3:3-5 where Jesus says

‚ÄúVery truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”

Baptism. Right. Fair enough. Except he goes on to say (in John 3:6-8):

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit¬†gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‚ÄėYou¬†must be born again.‚Äô The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.‚ÄĚ

So flesh cannot give birth to flesh. The Spirit gives birth to spirit, and we cannot tell where it comes or where it is going. We cannot tell when someone has been reborn in the Spirit…so this baptism is not physical but spiritual. There is another place also where it talks about baptism that was mentioned (I’m sure it is mentioned other times in the Bible, but these were the two called to my attention).

1 Peter 3:18-23 :

“For Christ also suffered once¬†for sins,¬†the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.¬†He was put to death in the body¬†but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive,¬†he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits‚ÄĒ to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently¬†in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.¬†In it only a few people, eight in all,¬†were saved¬†through water,

and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you¬†also‚ÄĒnot the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience¬†toward God.

So the baptism is a physical ritual that symbolizes a true spiritual awakening and baptism in the Spirit. The two are supposed to correlate (ideally) but the truth is that we can’t tell the movement of the Spirit so how can we know? We just go through the motions and kind of hope that we didn’t do it wrong.

So in conclusion, for today, don’t forget to err on the side of tolerance, all who are baptized through the Spirit know God, and it doesn’t require knowledge or belief in Christ because if you know God then by extension you know the entire Trinity.

We all worship the same God. We should love and accept everyone equally. We are all brothers and sisters in God.

Have a wonderful and spiritual Sunday,

CG

My Reason for the Season

Most people know the rhyme “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Well I respect all beliefs but as I don’t consider myself a Christian I certainly have other reasons I honor the holidays.

In a sentence: It’s not about religion, as much as it is about what they holiday represents.

The major holidays to me (and I will miss a few as I provide examples) all have a good solid reason for existing. Easter is about renewal and clearing the way for new things in your life. July 4th is about patriotism, and pride in our country. Halloween is about putting on a mask and being someone different for a night. Thanksgiving is about reflection on the blessings you have been given in your life. And I will elaborate on Christmas in a minute. Now arguably, there are other reasons these holidays exist…religious, historical, etc, but to me the most important reason is it’s something we do as a culture, and it brings us together both in small groups as friends and family, and in a much larger sense as an entire nation or species (in the case of the non US specific holidays). How amazing is it that across the globe, nearly every small child is rapt with anticipation of Santa Claus leaving them gifts.

But now to Christmas, and why I feel it’s so much more than the birthday of Jesus. That is what Christians celebrate, but all the religious holidays around this time of year have a similar purpose. They bring people together. All the holidays do that, sure, but Christmas time in particular it is the singular reason for the season. The “point” is to spend it around people you love.

I had a friend tell me the other day that “Christmas is just another day” (okay paraphrased…still) and I was shocked. It’s never been “just another day” to me. It has always been something special, even after I found out Santa Claus was a lie (although I played along for a few more years until I got my Mom and Aunt to admit it). Christmas is the one day a year you show people how much you love them. You may do this by giving them presents, or just sending out mass text messages (Sorry guys, poor college kid…guess what you are all getting this year?), but you do it because on this day more than any other it should be done.

That is the purpose of Christmas.

At least, in my opinion.

I hope, dear reader, you aren’t alone for Christmas, but if you are I love you and Merry Christmas! If you aren’t alone, then…well I guess my message is the same.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

CG

Happiness – Simpler than you might think

So I’ve been trying to write a new post for the past few weeks, but life keeps getting in the way. School, then finals, then this week I was just kind of down and dragging my feet.

But this past week I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection and thinking about happiness amongst other things.

The most basic question is “What is happiness?” followed very quickly by “How do I find it and then keep it once found?”

Well, I watch a show called One Tree Hill (yeah, yeah laugh it up…I like it) and recently watched an episode on Netflix where one of the characters talked about happiness and it really kind of lodged in my brain and got stuck there until I could process it completely.

“Happiness is not a destination. It is a mood, it is not permanent. It comes and goes and if people thought that way then maybe people would find happiness more often.”

Now this is not exactly mind blowing or shocking. But given that in high school I wrote something along the lines of “Happiness is like a mist. It surrounds and encompasses you but you can never hold it” to hear something near to my train of thought echoed back to me from a TV show was kind of surprising.

Think about what this quote is saying though. We often in our lives treat happiness as a destination. If I get this job, or I get this shiny new thing, or I do this, or I weigh this much, then FINALLY I will be happy, ad infinitum, right? But that’s not really how it works. The job makes us happy until we get bored, new things interest us for a time, everything we do is so transitory. The only constant in our lives is change. So the first thing we do to find happiness is to shift our thinking sideways and realize that it will come and go, but when it goes it will come back. But it’s not a permanent state of being.

Now the second question is how to find happiness and how to keep it for as long as possible. I have a few different points on this subject.

1. Do what you love

We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there too.From Pieces of Me.

I cannot begin to understand how people can just ignore the things they love to do. I guess I can understand not wanting to do it for money, because eventually you will hate your job and risk becoming bitter of whatever it is that you love. But you should still DO it. As a hobby, on the side, however you can fit it into your life you should be doing what you love.

2. Purpose

To me this is absolutely the most important thing. I’ve been without purpose, and in fact that is really why I’ve been so morose this week. But I found a purpose again. But without school, or a job, it’s tough to really find something meaningful to do to fill the time. When I did today suddenly everything snapped into focus and I realize in a way this seems to be the most important thing. To quote Loki from Avengers, “And I am burdened with glorious purpose.”

3. Relax

This is probably the most difficult one for me. My brain runs about 90 to nothing on a regular day…add in some stress and not only do I not sleep, my brain never rests. But I’ve realized lately that I need to learn how to force myself to relax because getting all wound up just makes things worse. It’s also important to change your surrounding every now and then. Dynamism helps with this, a change of scenery sparks new interest in your mind, and makes it more active.

In summation, happiness is a mood, and the things I’ve suggested at least help me find happiness, so maybe they will help you too.

CG out

Mind Hacks, Intelligence, and Love

Mind Hacks

Hacking. Usually associated these days with negative ideas from the plethora of online predators that “hack” to steal your identity, bring websites down, etc.

But the most correct definition of hacking would label it as wanting to know how something works so badly you break it down and put it back together.¬† It’s really just a thirst for knowledge so great that you know something’s innermost working.

Let’s use the second definition to talk about mind hacks.

Recently I’ve been interested about how I can improve myself. I’ve been thinking a lot about human existence, and how we are very much a tri-fold, three in one. I agree with the Eastern (I believe) philosophy of Mind, Body, and Spirit and that we should bring all three in harmony in order to attain enlightenment and become attuned to the infinite cosmos (or God if you prefer).
Did I lose you yet?

This has led me all over the Web. I’ve read a lot of Lifehacker trying to improve my organizational and mental skills. I’ve talked/debated spiritual things with my friends. I’ve been dieting and trying to exercise, definitely need to make it a habit, to work on the body.

But last week I stumbled on a book called Mindhacker. Let me just say I have enjoyed this book very much. In just that short amount of time I feel like it some parts of it have been trans formative. Some parts just opened my mind and helped me clarify things I believe in like how I feel about intelligence.

Intelligence

I’ve always felt that intelligence is overrated and the main thing that holds so called “dumb” people back is this idea that they are less intelligent than other people. Now, I can almost feel you, dear reader, thinking “Well, CG, you are obviously intelligent. How would you know?” Here’s a way to kind of explain what I mean…and I definitely believe this.

I’m a computer science geek so I know about the Universal Turing Machine, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about (and don’t want to read Wikipedia) the important part of the concept to make my point is “It is possible to invent a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence.” What this means is that a computer from 20 years ago can perform any operation a computer today can, just more slowly. The only thing that we “upgrade” in computer systems is the processor speed and storage capacity. The other hardware is functionally the same. In other words, if we could build hardware that would never degrade, we would never have to switch out anything but the hard drives, or processors in order to update our machines.
Now how does this apply to human intelligence?

First, check out the Sentience Quotient , which is a theory that gives a standard way to calculate a being’s intelligence. The human intelligence quotient is approximately +13 based on the size of our brains, and the ability of our neurons to process information. What this means for us, is that the most intelligent human and the least intelligent, are not orders of magnitude apart. To put it in computing terms, we are limited by our hardware.

So what’s the difference between someone who can soak up calculus and trigonometry like a sponge, and someone who has to study their butt off? Well as I said above it’s merely processing speed and storage capacity.

I’m sure some of you are asking “So? They can still learn faster. They are still smarter.”

They do learn faster. But the extension of that is not that they are somehow magically more intelligent than you. Anyone can learn anything. We put this huge gap between ourselves and those that are “smarter” than us in our minds and get stuck in this idea that we will never be able to measure up. But the truth is, human potential is only so much and in the larger scheme of things the difference between the most intelligent the human race can offer (the fastest processors, combined with the greatest storage capacity) and the least intelligent isn’t really all that much. We are still grouped together, limited by the same “hardware.”

So don’t think your stupid. I HATE hearing anyone say “Well I just don’t get it, I must be dumb.”,¬† or “Sorry for asking such a dumb question.” There are no stupid questions. Questions show that you are trying to learn. Trying to somehow correlate what you are hearing, and seeing with something familiar your mind can wrap itself around.

Learn everything. Ask anything. Fear nothing.

Love

Neo: I just have never…
Rama-Kandra: …heard a program speak of love?
Neo: It’s a… human emotion.
Rama-Kandra: No, it is a word. What matters is the connection the word implies.
I see that you are in love. Can you tell me what you would give to hold on to that connection?
Neo: Anything.
Rama-Kandra: Then perhaps the reason you’re here is not so different from the reason I’m here.

I have some friends that are getting married tomorrow. Weddings always make me think about love, what it all means, and other very contemplative things.

It’s taken me a long time to answer the simplest question:

What is love?

It’s not an easy one. People say they feel it when they don’t, they say you’ll know it when you feel it, but how can you know? Can you trust those feelings? And those are just a few of the questions you have to answer before you can arrive at a decision. Love is complicated but oh so simple at times.

The above quote from the Matrix has led me down another interesting tangent that makes me feel like I am getting closer. Love isn’t just something you feel, it’s something you do. You show your love every single day in what you spend your time doing, who you spend your time with…every action SHOULD be about something or someone you love. If not, you are probably majorly unhappy.

I saw something in my random wandering around the internet the other day that said “Don’t worry about finding someone to love. Do the things you love and that’s where you find the person you love most.” It’s an interesting thought, and I think there is a lot of truth there.

Anyway, just some food for thought…things that have been going through my head with this wedding coming up.

 

CG

 

The State of the Guru

It’s been so long since I have posted that I feel like I need to catch up…February…wow. I just haven’t had much to say. I haven’t felt very wise or advice giving. Truthfully, I’ve felt more and more like a ghost just kind of haunting the place until he gets some kind of closure.

I’ve been looking for a job. Thanks to some really good friends I’ve gotten quite a few interviews, but nothing solid. There is always someone with a better piece of paper than the one I have that comes wandering in, and then I am out of the picture. I decided last week to go back to school, so I get to be that weird 28 year old (I will be by the time I start again) dude who should be a graduate student but is only getting his bachelor’s.

Sadness Burrito

And this is still a bad month for me. I’m sure everyone who reads this just went “why?” but maybe my friends will get it if they think for a second. ¬†… ¬†There’s that light! My dad passed away in the middle of August a few years back. Most of the time I am fine, but I pretty much spend August in this angst-ridden depression filled irritated hateful little rampage. It’s like I’m drowning in this quicksand of negative emotions. I just stopped myself from debating with my Aunt because she was getting upset, and I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to purge all the negativity out of me even if I made her angry, even if I made her hate me.

Hard to admit that I can be that petty. But do you see why I don’t feel all that wise right now?

Burritos of Destiny

It doesn’t help that about a month back I realized I needed to learn what it was really like to be alone. I mean as a single guy (or girl) you get used to being single. After a while you no longer really feel like the third, fifth, or seventh wheel. I have honestly found it amusing when people feel terribly sorry for me when I am out with my friends. But I came to realize, when I was dealing with a LOT of emotion over something that in the big picture I had absolutely no right to be that emotional about, that I had replaced my “girlfriend” with my “family” of friends. I was just as emotionally dependent on them as I would have been on a girlfriend. That’s why the idea of not being able to hang out with them because of some arbitrary rule bothered me so much.

A Long and Heavy Slumber

Being alone, I mean really alone, is more difficult than you might think. How does one deal with one’s problems when you have no one to tell but yourself? I guess you blog about it. *chuckles* At least when it gets overwhelming.

This time right now is especially hard, but maybe I can face my demons and overcome them. Maybe this is my year to lay this sadness to rest. Or maybe I’ll just finally hit the wall and get my second wind. I can feel something stirring down deep in my soul ever since I decided to go back to school. I’m hoping that is a sign I am going the right way.

Valentine’s Day: Relationships and King Arthur

Okay, so I know this is a day late. But I have been thinking it over this long, I promise!!!

So of course being a post about Valentine’s I wanted to talk about relationships and my thoughts about them. I know what you are thinking. “Oh great, here comes the 12 page epic love poem, or the whiny emo rant about being alone.” Not at all. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find myself happy on Valentine’s Day. I enjoyed giving my closest friends Valentine’s like we were in third grade again, and generally had an average day otherwise. But I didn’t spend it curled up on my bed wishing I never had to get up again as I have in the past.

But as I analyzed the why, because I’m a freak like that and like to know why I feel a certain way, I started thinking. It’s because I have accepted a few things about being alone that apparently I hadn’t accepted until rather recently. And I am honestly not even sure when it happened. But first, before I get more into that let me talk about relationships.

Every successful relationship (the culmination of such being marriage) I have encountered has a common theme. As much as the partners in said relationship live together and move forward through life together it is a melding of equals. Both support and pursue their dreams equally. And I am sad to admit I have yet to have such a relationship. I have a bad tendency to either dominate or submit in a relationship, because either I am myself and become overbearing wiping the other person out, or I subsume parts of my personality in order to not dominate the relationship. Basically, I haven’t found anyone who is my equal. That sounds arrogant, but it’s not about intelligence or any real thing I can quantify as far as I can tell. The only word I have for it is soul mate.

And in my life I have experienced a lot of things. Good and bad, but honestly mostly good. That is part of what this blog was about, sharing my thoughts and insights with others hoping they could learn something from the wisdom I have gathered. But certain things have happened for a reason. For instance, my spiritual beliefs are very agnostic. I believe mere mortals cannot understand the underlying truth of the universe and that there are not only things man was not meant to know, but things man cannot know. This is a hard path to follow, and very lonely. But it is the one I believe God has sent me down. For some reason, He wants me to walk this path and I have faithfully believed in that since I affirmed my beliefs as an agnostic deist. In the end, I believe I will end up where He wants me, and in a good place.

But until Tuesday I had never considered my inability to find that special someone in the same light. I know you are thinking “OH NO! Here it is, finally! The emo rant!” I have spent many, many years being “alone” in the girlfriend sense. 7 years between high school and my last relationship, and now around a year and a half since the tumultous 6 month long distance relationship. One of my friends made the statement, “I am not any prettier than you are, and I know I could get plenty of girls. So go for it!” a few years back and my response was “I don’t want just any girl.” I realized at that point I was waiting for something special. I think that I have finally accepted that I am searching for someone truly amazing and that I may never find it, and why I wasn’t depressed this year on Singles Awareness Day.

I am sure you are still wondering what King Arthur has to do with all of this. I loved that story as a kid and it’s easy to see why. It has everything. Knights, nobility, chivalry, war, betrayal, truly epic love, and interwoven through all of it is the quest for one object: The Holy Grail. And the main character, King Arthur, even after being repeatedly told he is unworthy and will never find the Grail still keeps looking. He spends his entire life searching for the unattainable Grail, and the legend says he never found it although he knew that someone else did. But there was no jealousy in his heart from Gaiwan finding it, just acceptance and knowledge that he wasn’t done yet.

The lesson? I haven’t stopped searching for the truth or God just because I believe I truly couldn’t understand Him even if found. By the same thought, I won’t truly stop searching for my soul mate until I find her. Because even if I never succeed, the journey will be worth it.

 

CG out.

Resolved: To Find What’s Best In Life

I struggled quite a bit today with coming up with a resolution to uphold this year. I didn’t bother with one last year because everything I wanted was already coming true…I was graduating, it looked like I had a job that was going somewhere good, and all in all I was really just waiting to meet someone special and my life would be on track. I mean that’s what everyone wants right? Money in the bank, and someone to share your life with…so I went through this last year with no resolution…I felt no need to struggle to come up with some meaningless thing to dedicate myself to. I take oaths and promises very seriously and well according to the dictionary a resolution is: “a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent voted by an official body or assembled group.” In this case, I preside over my life, and so I am declaring my will.

Resolved: In 2012, I will seek out what is best in life.

 Mongol General: Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.

Now, I don’t exactly agree with Conan, but there is something satisfying about his words. In this case, my enemies are not physical which makes them so much harder to face than Conan’s enemies. ¬†Fear and self-doubt are much hard to face.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain

 

Recently certain events have made me realize a few things about myself:

  1. I put a lot of pressure on myself.
  2. I don’t strive to be the best version of myself
  3. Even though I hate to admit it, a lot of the pressure comes from how I think other people perceive me.
  4. Often I under sell my own abilities and potential.

For instance, I recently quit my job…after a week. And I liked my job. It wasn’t great or challenging, but the people I worked with were awesome. The job was…bearable other than that and I made good money. But after a week, I was physically ill for 2 days at the thought of going back. I was dry heaving every 5 to 10 minutes because I was so stressed. Finally I sat down and really examined myself and what was going on inside my head. I took the job because I felt pressured. I need to have a job without a doubt. But while there I felt trapped. And even though I know my family would understand, the thought of not being around for Christmas and disappointing people was killing me. And there is no blame to anyone in my family for this, it was all internal pressure I was applying without any conscious thought on my part. But it tore my stomach up enough to make me ill.

The second (and fourth really kind of ties in) comes from the other night. I was thinking about why I didn’t get the IT job at Boomtown…why I didn’t think to show my interviewer my Project+ certification card…why I found myself saying “Well I don’t know much about that, but I could learn.” And I’m not saying I should have lied, but if I learned ANYTHING from debate it was that there are better ways to say you don’t know something than just saying it straight out. And I thought about why I did that, and why I haven’t programmed any apps on my phone yet, or even gotten started. I thought about why I want to go back to school, which is really because I think it is too hard for me to learn what I need to learn on my own and school would make it easier. Which may be true, but I’m not sure it is worth the money I would have to pay. The fact is, I am good enough to learn what I need to learn. And when I was working towards being with someone all my doubts, fears, and insecurities just melted away and everything was easy. The world was my oyster, and there was nothing that would stand between me and my goals. But I find it impossible to summon that kind of faith in myself just for me. And I am honestly not sure why.

So my resolution is to fix these things about myself. Find the faith to believe I can do anything, independent of needing anyone else to believe in me. Find a way to accept the things I cannot change, and to not stress out over things I have to do to improve my life. It is still a pretty tall order, but it is better than other things I could promise that would be nearly impossible to guarantee or achieve.

And honestly, I am not really sure where to start with all of this…I am kind of hoping in the next few days the Big Guy Upstairs will help me out…spin me around and point me in the right direction at least.

Happy New Years, and may all this years wishes not become next years apologies

CG

This ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race

I’m sure most of you recognize the title as a song from Fallout Boy…well we will get to why in a moment.

First I need to talk about dreams. I believe that dreams have power. I believe they tell us things. Things about ourselves that maybe we don’t know yet, things about our world we don’t notice consciously, and things we want but don’t see why. In short, oftentimes they answer questions we haven’t asked yet. Now whether dreams come from some higher power, or our own subconscious is up to speculation, but regardless they tell us things.

As I am sure you can guess, I had a dream. And I have been trying to figure out what it means all day.

It started off with me leading a group of my loved ones through a city, trying to get us out as fast as possible. I never thought of what the danger actually was, I was so focused on getting us to the countryside. The next thing I can recall is meeting my dad with the group in front of a lake and he had all these supplies. Well we gathered them up and went on, making camp after hiking for a while and beating back a lake monster. And after camp was set up I saw my dad standing a little apart, so I went to talk to him. He just looked me in the eye and said “It’s time to live up to those words now.” “What words?” I asked a bit confused. And he replied “This ain’t a scene, its a g__ d___ arms race” and I woke up.

This has been going around and around in my head all day. What does it mean?

In the song, they are talking about how life is all about making money, not providing comfort, or making someone’s life better, or anything besides making money. (“I am an arms dealer, selling you weapons in the form of words, I don’t care which side wins, as long as the room keeps singing, that’s just the business I am in”)

Kind of makes you think about how we feel like bands are speaking to us, and how much music can affect someone but really it’s just about making money, not changing lives.

Unfortunately, that seems what the world is like these days. Oddly enough, I have always felt like I was meant to change the world. I guess that is arrogant, or prideful, but it’s always been a truth to me not a question. After all, that is what gave me faith in my plan to graduate college, and why my world was shattered when I failed out the first time. I remember have a long conversation with my junior high youth group leader about how I wanted to program computer games, and my desire to change the world through my games. We talked about all kinds of Christian friendly games I could make (it was church after all) and he shared my faith in myself and my plan.

Somewhere along the way I have lost that faith in myself.

I remember telling someone that it was easier to endure difficulty when I had someone else in my life to work for…when I was working towards a goal. It seemed like everything cleared up, and became so simple and easy…when I had a clear path instead of slogging through the muck. I guess what I need…what my dream was trying to say is that I need to find that level of motivation by myself, for myself, and not for someone else. I need to stop settling for good enough and start reaching for my greatness before too long because “this ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race.”