Thursday, April 27, 2006

Future Quandries and Melancholies..

Well I'm once again in my semi-annual melancholy mood when I start responding to some sort of feeling of self imposed pressure and judgement. The whole "what am I doing?" "where am I going?" and feeling a little at a loss in regards to answers. Through it all I'm very thankful that I know this is a mood and that it will pass. It isn't something to fight but to listen to, with the realization that my view is affected by my current mood.

What has lead to this? Hmmmmm... different self pressures held to that are given by society?
What factors can I guess at?

Surrounded by many students who are pondering their future academic journeys?
And the fact that I have not walked that path yet.
Friends having babies, friends getting married.
But not me.
Those neat things part of me would like to buy or have.
And don't.

All of these things that part of me feels I'm supposed to want, part of me wants, and part of me doesn't. I often feel that the part of me that wants these things is somewhat motivated out of this pressure that I'm supposed to want these things.

I'm thankful for the things I have. I'm thankful for my friends and family. I don't suffer and live a good life. And still there is a struggle for contentment inside of me. It is said that if you are not happy with what you have, you'll never be happy with what you'll get. I believe there is some truth to this. But of all the priorities and goals we can chase is happiness the highest? I feel it is not.

It is these melancholy moods that taught me that there are some times when I shouldn't drink. This is one of them. (And I don't really want to.. but if I did.. I wouldn't let myself, cause it wouldn't help at all, and I'm cheap.)

I feel like I stradle the line between romanticism and realism, dreamer and realist, and am in neither. Perhaps this is normal for most; it is so for me. (The great thing about these melancholy moods is that I actually start writing stuff down during them.. and that they pass).
Bah I know that I am a romantic and a dreamer, although disillusioned at times (it's amusing to me that the term disillusioned has a negative connotation when it seems to actually be the process by which someone sees something cleary, without illusion. Though people most likely become disillusioned when they merely exchange one illusion for another. For is not all that we see in some way illusory?)

Sometimes I wonder if the melancholy mood is the reality and if the time when I'm not is merely life lived above it in some illusory dream? These are, of course, thoughts I only think when I'm in my melancholy mood. Once loosened of these fetters I no longer care and live care-free again. I'm not there right now and wonder if the care-free times smack of denial? At least in my melancholy I am still left with my cynical, sardonic humour. Long has it been my ally through my dark times. Back before I discovered optimism, when friends described me as the most optimistic pessimist they new. When my motto internally was "the worlds sucks but you might as well laugh". Play on while the city burns.

Hmmmmm... perhaps.. perhaps it is time I left my dreams and put my feet on the ground. Perhaps in the death of old dreams, the reality will allow the realization of new dreams? Perhaps I need to grow up? (more).

Do I have a problem with commitment? Well I think perhaps some may say so. What do I say? Well I've never thought of it in those terms before.. or thought of it as a problem. Maybe my joke of saying "it's harder to hit a moving target" and my wandering ways are related to a deeper insecurity or fear of being hurt. Or hurting others. Most likely these are somewhat related to my fear of failure... of failing others.. of failing myself.

Of course all of these thoughts are there behind my cheery, jovial, facade.

My survival skills of adaptability. Trying not to become too attached to people I'll feel worse about failing. And the thoughts come once more, unbidden? or toyed with like long acquaintances? Am I a failure? What have I succeeded in doing? My oft wondered perennial question of "what do I do?" which is where our culture often seeks the answer to the question of "who am I?".

These thoughts buzz and flood my head. They exist in the abstract and the concept. It's inefficient, insufficient. It is what I have to use. I feel like a mute singer. I feel like there is a song inside of me that cannot be expressed. I feel in this world, like a youth who's body has grown longer than he can handle and he klunks around to his dismay and others amusement. I feel that I have learned to laugh at my dismay and sorrow, my wearyness that does not amount to much when compared to others who have struggled longer and harder, but it is mine and what I know.

Again I think, there is much to be thankful for, but right now I'm not very much thankful. (Which is, I admit, very silly, yet the way I feel at this momement which shall pass.)

After writing during my melancholy, after allowing it for a bit, after laughing at it and me, I then proceed to my next step, which is choosing to move on and no longer dwell in idle fancy and speculation. For what is gained by my staying in such a state? A pale complexion as I dwell in the dark? I fill more pages with words and sentences, but I don't live. So I will go on now. I will go outside, down by the river, and perhaps in this excursion I will find peace. I most likely will.. it's usually what happens. And perhaps in the next little while these storm fronts will grind me against the rocks at time or two more until this season has passed. Then there will be smooth waters again. Until the next season comes.

So who am I? I am me, and though I don't know what that means, I believe it to be true, and that is enough. So I'll walk on.


More thoughts before I go..

This all partly stems from what I hold to be expectations for judging my position. I've recieved many of these standards from the culture around me, and as I believe in them I hold myself to them.

So now I exist in a semi-anxious state.
I have a job that pays me until July 7th. By many standards it is a decent and good job and I have no large complaints. It is a decent environment that I believe I could stay at indefinitly. There are worse jobs and better. When my time here ends I will go to Camp Squeah for the sumemr, where I've been for many years and there too I will do well. If I were to so choose at this moment I could stay in employment another year (or most likely more) with my current employer.

Yet I am not satisfied so I look for more/different/greater. Will I be satisfied there? Will I be satisfied ever? And so I fret on my future. What am I to do? Should I go back to school? If so for what? Should I pick up a trade? Plumbing is supposed to be good.

Bah.. grumble, gripe, complain, worry, it doesn't do much good. I've survived this long I'll probably live longer. I should go enjoy that river while I still can as opposed to being a fool who stays typing on the computer all day complaining that he doesn't get out into the sun ever. Bah!

Tigers above and below, eat the damn strawberry.

;) Adios

Monday, April 24, 2006

Isaac Asimov- Genius

I've just finished reading Robot Visions, a collection of stories and essays by Asimov. He remains one of the best writers who've written. His vision has redeemed technology in my eyes and more clearly shown it to me as a tool of man. It is man who wields it to it's various effects. Truly he was a great man of great vision, fully deserving of the title Grand Master of Science Fiction.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The 2006 Spring BC Blitz

Alrighty. So tomorrow afternoon I'll be heading for BC with 2 of my students from here who've never been there. We're leaving S'toon hopefully around 5pm.. and have to have the rental car back by 4pm a week later. It should be good times.. stay tuned for photo documentation!

Friday, April 07, 2006

A look at my current spirituality...

I know, I know, another long one. Oh well. The original form of this piece was in an email response to a good friend. The quotes are from his initial email to me.

I always appreciate discussing things with you as well. Your perspectives challenge and support mine and I feel that afterwards I have stepped forward. You speak of looking for something to hang your uncertainty on and not finding it. I appreciate that perspective. I think for me, though I've moved past the standard church orthodoxy, and don't know what to make of God or Jesus, I seem to have come to a place where, most of the time, I hang my uncertainty. I don't really know what the hook it's hanging on is though! ;) The idea of God revealing itself to us, to me, is very appealing. The idea of a God who has a personal interest in me is also quite attractive. Is it true or right?

Hmmmm. And on a little side note after having read Guns,Germs,and Steel and becoming more aware of how evolution would shape things I also wonder what features allowed for certain faiths to become dominant. What is it about Islam, Christianity, and Judaisim that allowed them to become the dominant influences and beliefs in the Western world? How about the Taoist influence in the East? Anyhoo....

I do think that God reveals itself and for people to understand this they put it into ways they can grasp it. Their faith systems. Perhaps some set-ups allow an easier access into awareness. Is there a common factor found amongst many of the prophets and preachers? The many Holy People? Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Ghandi, The Dalai Lama? I think our terms are so very limited in any discussion of this nature. Is God personal or impersonal? So limited. Often I think the answer lies in both and more; in fullness. Just as we are individually I and corporately We at the same time. We are not one or the other but both. I believe that many of the parameters surrounding the questions of God are too narrowly defined.

When I read "any attempt to know the unknowable is doomed to failure" I think yes and no. What is failure? Is it not gaining knowledge? In that is it not success? Is this not journey towards "God" as we realize that it is more that we think.. not more as in different.. but more as in deeper. This sentence could also speak of the inability for us to FULLY know God? As our words are insufficient to contain the experiences so our experiences are insufficient to the reality of God. Our understanding of God can only be as a picture of God. There is some level of information passed on, but so much more than the picture makes the reality. Despite this we have words, have learned words, have been given words as a way to pass on information, to transmit slightly that which has been personally discovered. And words in the hands of a skilled person can, I think, almost have a synergy in them that allows the truth to be revealed. Even the words "It's damnably difficult to paint a taste picture of a potato chip, fat-crisped, salty and chemically flavoured, when first it touches the tip of your tongue. " can resonate with a person and inspire them to actually take notice of the experience when it is occuring; to be more aware. Perhaps the power of words is the handshake that makes way for the relationship. They do not and can not contain the whole, but perhaps they can bring forth a piece or reveal a direction. This could perhaps also be stated as living is learning.

As for experiencing the infinite moment of tasting? Well I wonder were it possible to spend all your time in transendence would it still be transending? Or would it become normative? I think there seems to be some very cyclical and rythmic energies and patterns in our existence. So it would seem more plausible to me to think of steps forwards, moments of, and growth. Even in the thought of eternal some have the idea of the serpent biting it's tale. Which is somewhat related to our sign for infinity yes? Here the concept of without end means that it is interconnected. But another way of looking at eternity as that without end can be to think of it without an end boundary, not that it loops forever, but that it never stops. A continuation forward forever. This seems exciting to me. If life had no challenge would it be as fun? Would it be of as much value? Or is it the things that you choose to work at and do that bring enjoyment? An ever-growing journey without end would have different rewards then one that circled upon itself. But perhaps this too is just two ways of looking at something that is beyond us? Anyhoo it is beyond this life and thus in this life why not still live the best you know how, in openess, and honesty, seeking, searching and being?

I guess, to get back to an earlier schema, I think I could say that I hung my uncertainty on what I believed was a certain faith. And it hung there well. Yet as I explored that which it was hung on I came to the realization that what it hung on was not what I thought it hung on. It is both more and less. And my uncertainty, cares, and worries, hang there still. On what I do not know. Yet I know that they hang. And that's one more piece of knowledge to put in the bank. One more glimpse seen. And that hanging? It is the effect of letting go, of releasing, of trusting, I suppose, that "something more."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Thoughts on Guilt: The nature of and what we've made of it?

So I was talking with a buddy the other day and the topic of guilt came up. It got me thinking. Here are those thoughts in some semblance of non-chaotic transmission. So with no claim to great knowledge here are my thoughts and ruminations.

Here's what the Oxford Dictionary says:
• noun 1 the fact of having committed an offence or crime. 2 a feeling of having done something wrong or failed in an obligation.

Here's what I came up with (before I checked the Oxford English Dictionary)

The feeling of guilt is an indication that you perceive a personal thought or act as transgressing a law.
Now I shall try to unpack a bit of what I understand that to mean.

"The feeling of guilt" I say this cause though you may feel guilty you may not have transgressed an actual law.

"is an indication" It is informing you that your thought or action is contrary to what you believe you should do. This also informs you of what you judge to be a wrong act.

"that you perceive a personal thought or act" brings the awareness that you are judging this thought or act based from your own personal standards and perspective.

"as transgressing a law" by which I include the legal, social, religious, cultural, familial and personal laws and customs of the person.

So what is the feeling of guilt? It is an indication that you perceive a personal thought or act as transgressing a law or custom.

You may not have committed a crime or offence but do believe that you did.

---- End of Act 1 ----

So although feelings of guilt have a connection to the reality of being guilty they are not one and the same. Some laws and rules apply to some people; and some to others. For example there are Canadian laws by which all Canadians are held accountable to, and familial laws or customs that your family is held to, like put the toilet seat down when you're done. All Canadians are expected to abide by the federal rules but one's "house rules" do not apply to all house holds in the nation.

What are the feelings commonly associated with guilt? Shame, failure, not being good enough? What things underly it all? Is it fear? Is it based on our cultures ideal of perfect performance standards? What does it mean to each individual?

What benefits come from these fostered feelings of guilt in conjunction with one's self worth? A just society is good. (Whatever that is..) But I think it would be better if people participated in it based out of understanding, love, the common good, than out of personal fear and guilt.

Maybe we need to move deeper in our understanding. We use guilt as motivation. "If you do well then you will be rewarded" is a fine principle (though it could encourage people to seek external validation for self-worth) but if a person takes their value from it they are in trouble. For then I am not lovable based on the fact that I am lovable as I am but rather upon what I do. If this is seen to be the case then guilt can bring devaluing feelings and be reacted to as a very negative thing; then it is guilt mutated into a monster run amok inside.

---- End of Act 2 ----

The system of guilt is a pretty shabby motivator. Doing something cause you don't want to feel bad kinda sucks. It's better to do things cause you want to. But we have become so burdened down by others expectations for ourselves that we treat them with, I think, more validity then they deserve. We allow others realities and expectations to be our own. We don't see other people's expectations as requests but rather as things that must be obeyed. Join the system. Resistance is futile. I think it's all a little off if you ask me. Do you ever wonder why you support a system that doesn't work that well for you? You can resist it. That doesn't mean you don't relate with people. But realize your choice in their expectations. And when you relate with others realize their choice as well. Become a culture of respect; of invitation. Rather then a place that fosters unhealthy guilt, shame, and resentment.

This is all a journey of realizing the individual lovability of self, and of others. This is the journey of learning to more respect self, and others.

Now as to the question of is guilt good or bad? I think we often draw the parameters of questions too narrowly. Is guilt good or bad? Well how about it can be both and inbetween and more? I think guilt (or conscience) can be good in informing you that what you are thinking of doing goes against something you've been taught. It's a little hello saying "check this out." So when this happens we should look and say "where is this belief coming from" and "is it really that way or not?" As children we are given externals in which to operate. As we grow older one quest is to learn to listen to the internal living out of love and be guided by that. Moving from external to internal. As a child there were parameters such as "don't cross the road by yourself." As I've gotten older that one has passed to the wayside. Now I don't feel any guilt in crossing the road, but I do look both ways. There are other external guidelines that have passed away. There are also some that stick around that should move on, and some that are still solid and good, with an internal backing.

So where is this guilt coming from? Ie what is one of the bad extreme of guilt?

----End of act 3 ----

I think part of all of this guilt also comes from unreal expectations and the association that missing the mark, or "failure" means you are a failure. I disagree with this, but it is a pervasive mindset that is rampant in our culture.

I suppose now we enter the whole phase of metaphysics and the nature of man stuff. Are we mistakes? Accidents? Improperly made? Flukes? What is the value of self inheirently?

I believe we are strength and weakness; beauty in diversity. Are we to be perfect? or are we being perfected? Crawl then stumble; stumble then walk; walk then run; run then fly; fly then soar? This is the journey. We don't expect a child to express advanced algebraic equations, and if you want me to I'm going to disappoint you. We challenge them to advance based on who they are, while allowing them their process. Why don't we do that with each other? I think part of it is because they don't do it do us. Of course that's a poor justification for one's own actions.. but it happens often nonetheless. They did it first! As we get older we get more sophisticated with our excuses and justifications but I think it still can boil down to that.

---- End of Act 4 ----

Jumbled thoughts and ponderings..

Guilt and judgement walk hand in hand. When love and forgiveness enter the picture they bring new sight and understanding to the view of guilt and judgement.

We judge ourselves by our own expectations and beliefs of what we should do and should be. Are these realistic?

Want something to read that's pretty cool? Check out the book of Romans, chapter 14 in the Bible. It actually has some pretty durned nifty things to say about tolerance, respect, and understanding.

What are the rules/customs you've been taught? Do these external expectations reflect your internal reality? Do you realize that in all of them you have the choice to do it or not. You have the right to that decision regardless of repercussions? Some familial expectations are unfair. Some friend obligations are unfair.

---- End of Act 5 ----

Parting thoughts...

We are what we are; be that fully. Fall down, get up, keep going. It is not a personal failure to be fallible. It is normal and ok. People have their own ideas and agendas but to your own self be true.

Find self. Live out of self.

Be careful of the extremes of lowly lowly Sinner and high and mighty Judge. They are 2 sides of the same coin. They support the same system. Judge not lest you too be judged (by your judging self?). To the standard you judge, you too will be judged.

Please share your thoughts and comment on this..

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Little Happies

So here are some little happies that happened today.

When I look outside I see more yellow ground then white.
So tomorrow afternoon we will play soccer.
And I will be sore later.

It was raining earlier.

My bro bro put up some pictures on his blog, of the ocean and beach.
And I swiped one for the top of this posting.. heh heh.

I've almost finished reading The Deed of Paksenarrion for the umpteenth time.
In someways an old book is like an old friend.

Some of my students and I have been playing Scorch 2000 which is an online java version of a video game we used to play way back when I was a young lad in High School. Go to if you want to check it out. I can still remember the names we had for different moves.

The other day my co-worker Myles, his wife Esther, and I, watched Empire Records. I remembered that Liv Tyler was in it but had forgotten that Renee Zellweger and Anthony LaPaglia were in it also. They were all a bit younger back then weren't they? Weren't we all! Oh and there's that one stoner red headed employee who trips out and thinks he's in a GWAR video. He always reminds me of Rhoby. ;)

The top highlight of the past week? While I was on the phone with my friend Rob and his son Josiah came onto to the phone to proudly tell me that he went poo in the potty. That was sweet.

Well I'm gonna go try to stay out of trouble now.
Adios, Jordan

ps Looks like the Winnipeg trip isn't going to happen. But if anyone wants to visit me in Saskatchewan? ;)