You don't know how lovely you are

I heard Willie Nelson playing this song today, and he couldn't spoil it for me. One of the most liberating feelings in the world is loving people without fears and doubts and hope of reciprocity. Love is lawless and faithful and is returned in the most unlikely ways sometimes. The act of giving love is a leap, a show of vulnerability that makes you stronger. I have foolishly put conditions and demands on love and been crushed by the weight of disappointment, when I should have let the joy of the giving itself lift me up and teach me something. We do not realise how selfish we are so much of the time. I wish that I could live outside of myself for just one day and see how my actions, and inactions, effect the world and the people around me, strangers and people I love included. I know I would have a lot to learn from that day. And I would want to start again, do things a little differently, be truer to who I want to be, to who I am becoming.

Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are
I had to find you, tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart
Tell me your secrets and ask me your questions
Oh, let's go back to the start
Running in circles, coming up tails
Heads on a science apart
Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start

The Scientist by Coldplay on Grooveshark

The Scientist by Willie Nelson on Grooveshark

Meaning

One of my girlfriends shared an article with me from The Atlantic entitled, There's More to Life Than Being Happy (http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/). It is one of the things that I have been pondering off and on for the past year. I keep talking about being happy and trying to figure out how to be happy, but after reading the article, I realise that what I was calling happy is actually having meaning and purpose in my life, and not the actual goal of happiness. My brain shouted, "Yes! THAT'S what I meant!", and a peace settled down on me, and then an excitement because I really want to think about this some more.

Allow me to recap the article without repeating, because it is well worth reading: Viktor Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the Nazi concentration camps (most of his family perished) and wrote a book about it and his theories on what makes people resilient - Meaning. Meaning and purpose give us a reason to exist, a responsibility to something outside of ourselves, a task that is uniquely ours which makes us indepensible. Suffering may be involved in that purpose, and so might happiness, but these are merely moments of time experienced with no real importance. And yet, we make happiness important - endless books and articles on how to be happy and achieve happiness, but happiness without meaning "characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life". Living a meaningful life involves giving rather than taking, and leads to more satisfaction and fulfillment down the road.

This year I have been taking my life apart and examining the little bits and pieces from all sides. After considering this article, I realise that I have been asking myself the wrong question, or at least I was not wording it correctly. I want a life with meaning, so how am I creating that now and how can I continue to do so? The biggest meaning right now is my children, but that cannot be my only responsibility. There must also be what I contribute to others through my photos, my words, my actions - they contribute to a purpose that will be with me long after my children are grown.

I'm not done thinking about this, I feel there is so much shifting for me at the moment. Seriously, read the article if you didn't - hopefully you'll be as excited as I am about it :-)

Snowballs

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The first week of the new year is over and what have I learned? Let's see:I saw Lincoln and learned a bit more about Amendment 13 and the politics of the American civil war. And also that I should brush up on my American history. I learned a little bit about Japanese pub food and sake beer bombs. Once again, further investigation is required. I thought a lot about loving what I do, what I want to be doing, and what I am doing to be able to love where I am right now. I started looking at my financial life and really thinking about making some changes rather than pretending what I am doing is good for me. And I have learned that substituting green tea for coffee for a week has not been difficult at all.

Resolve

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It's the beginning of the new year, so it's time for resolutions and reflections. When I woke up this morning, I thought the following: I am happy to be waking up in a warm bed, in a cozy dwelling. I am not hungry, I am not sick, I am alive and I can see the sunlight on the trees and the snow outside, making them sparkle. I have two beautiful children who dazzle me with their growing and person-ness. I have family who loves me and tries to take care of me. I have a few friends, just enough, who support me and love me in everything I do. I have a mind that thinks and creates and dreams and loves impossibly beautiful things.

Everything that I need or I want in this world is possible for me to grasp.

I am so very fortunate.

I just need to remember, and truly believe that. That is my resolution for this year. I will believe that I am fortunate, that I am beautiful just the way that I am. I will do the things that make me happy, and work from a sense of purpose rather than a sense of duty. I will believe in my friends' dreams and cheer them on as they climb. I will listen more. I will encourage my children and try to be the example. I will be my heart, I will listen to it and appreciate that it is unique and crazy and marvelous.

And I will try to ignore the parts of me, and the parts of others, who tell me different.

All the best for 2013. It will be a good year :-)

rain

We are having a huge storm here - thunder shaking the house and lightning illuminating the night. When I was a kid we had a screened sun porch with a tin roof and my dad and I used to sit out there during storms. There was nothing he liked better, he used to say, than the sound of the rain hitting that tin roof and I could understand why - it created a sound that was enveloping and loud, filling your ears, yet gentle when mixed with the wind in the branches. I can still feel the cool air on my cheeks, swirling and gusting through the screens. Sometimes we'd get quite wet out there, sitting in chairs with our feet up on the cooler we used as a coffee table, watching the lightning flash and outline the trees and the distant mountains. My dad gave me a great love of storms, and when there's no threat of being struck down by an act of a god, I like nothing better than to be out walking in them on a hot summer night and feeling the rain fall on my face, my neck, my shoulders, and feel the shivers of delight when the breeze creates goosebumps along my skin. I feel so much more alive and life seems more clear, as if the water is washing away the dust that's accumulated in my brain and from my senses.

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I wonder if my dad remembers telling me about his love of rain on the roof, or if he remembers sitting with me on the porch. Perhaps it's a silly thing to wish, but I hope that he does. It is so strange to have a person sitting in front of you, seemingly as he's always been physically, yet knowing that he may not remember all of the things that he's told you, all of the stories he has filled your mind and heart with your entire life. The loss is felt so much deeper when there's a blankness in the eyes of someone you love so completely.

I know they cannot disappear and yet the memories are so fragile, clinging to the thin threads of love spinning out in all directions and at the mercy of elements we cannot control. Someday I will only be able to remind my kids about how Poppy loved the sound of the raindrops on the roof, in much the same way as they will remember how I used to walk in summer storms and smile.