Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts tagged goals

Inscription On a Tomb

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Purportedly, there is an inscription on the tomb of a bishop buried in Westminster Abbey that reads:

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.

One of the things I’ve started to learn is that my own inner peace tends to have a “shelf life” that is highly dependent on the things that I do as well as the things that I experience. Before, I used to strive to reach a certain level of peace with the implication that once I reached that level, my life would be “complete” somehow.

There were quite a few times in my past where I said to myself, “This is it! This is what I have been searching for!” Yet, I was disappointed over and over when I got dragged down in the moment, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. If I thought about it, I knew that things like “love” take a lot of work to continue to grow or that I had to show up to work every day that I wanted to get paid. However, for some odd reason, I had the idea that I could rest on the laurels of my own serenity indefinitely. That was the wrong tack to take.

I’ve learned that when I do a “good” deed, I feel better, and when I do a not-so-perfect deed, I tend to feel worse. However, the newest thing I’ve learned is that if I do nothing, I also tend to feel worse. Like a gladiator in the Coliseum or charioteer in the Circus Maximus, I cannot rest on the laurels from a race that I have won in the past. Instead, I must continue working towards a new sunset and expectantly await a new dawn every day that I have breath in me.

For me, that means that I cannot concentrate so much on what level of serenity I have from day to day because my serenity ebbs and flows like so many waves on the shores of Lake Michigan. But the height and volume of those waves are highly dependent on what I do in terms of being of service, building a spirit of compassion, building a community, healing the hearts of the broken, and doing my best to be a channel of peace, even when I do not necessarily feel that way myself.

To sum up, if I take a break from building those things that make me a better person, my serenity begins to spoil like fruit on a sunny window sill. Serenity has a “best if used by” date and must be ever replenished and fresh in order to continue its usefulness to me!

The Battles We Face

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A lot of times, I wish I could see life through the eyes of another. I think it would help me a lot in being more sympathetic to others’ reactions. I am often faced with trying to explain my emotions and reactions to another human being. Though words are very powerful, they can sometimes be misunderstood or taken out of context. Even more than that, I think I often don’t realize the craziness that goes on in the hallowed halls of another’s mind. Take for instance the following video:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e3e_1279725221

When I first watched that video a while back, I remember feeling both confused, scared, and completely unnerved at what was going on in front of me. “Everything’s okay,” I wanted to scream. “Don’t listen to the voices,” I kept thinking. It was a very surreal experience and thankfully I don’t have to deal with something as challenging as schizophrenia in real life. I have no idea what I would do.

I know that I would hate to have “voices” in my head. I’ve seen it all the time, though. I see homeless people on the street (and elsewhere) talking to themselves, or craning their head to the side as if they are listening to someone who’s not there, etc. Often, instead of giving them dignity and respect, I’ve sort of ignored them or just thought them strange. It is true that many of them have induced these symptoms through drugs, alcohol, or other addictions, but they are still human beings. Their humanity should mean something to me, but often it’s easier for me to put people in a category with a certain amount of blame associated with a particular category. That person is a rich snob. This person is a homeless fool. It’s incredibly easy to dismiss someone if they are just a category and not a living breathing member of this Earth, deserving of my society.

We are all facing an uphill battle to not just survive, but to live fully. I am learning that for me, in order to fully live, I have to be helping those who are battling alongside me. Even if they cannot or will not acknowledge (or accept) my help, my responsibility to be a part of the human race is not taken away. My responsibility to at least reach out is not diminished by other people’s past actions. Just because ninety nine people refuse my acceptance, respect, or help,I should try with the hundredth soul that crosses my path. That is the real battle I face. I cannot afford to simply trudge every day to my death filled with petty arguments and foolish self-made battles. The Earth is beautiful and life is amazing if I but have the courage to look both at the battle and through it, helping the brothers and sisters I meet along the way as much as I can.

Student Loans

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I made my last payment on my student loans from undergrad yesterday. That made me feel pretty awesome. When I first took out those loans, it seemed like I would have forever to pay them back. However, as I started making payments, I saw how much of my payment was being eaten up by interest, and I didn’t like that at all.

So I decided to change that. At first I started small by adding an extra $50 per month, but in a couple of years, I started adding more and more to my payment. That really paid off because I saved thousands of dollars of interest payments!

I’m not entirely debt free, but I have learned a lot in the last few years about how annoying debt can be, and more importantly, how much you can save by actually planning out extra payments and keeping with a basic budget.

In general, I understand that in order to purchase a product or service, you sometimes have to borrow money to do it, and nobody just loans the money for free. But, it seems that a lot of times, the interest payments you make on a loan are actually quite crazy in relation to the actual cost of the loan itself.

In total, I paid 19.4 percent of my original loan in interest payments. So, for every five dollars I borrowed, I had to pay six back. If I had only paid the minimum monthly payments, for every three or four dollars I borrowed, I would have to pay five dollars back. To some, that may not seem like I high price, but I think it is.

What’s even more scary to me is housing loans. If I took out a $100,000 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 5.25 percent interest, I would pay $97,680 in interest over the course of those 30 years!

But I digress. Like I said originally, it feels pretty awesome to retire another debt. Now, on to the rest of it!

Many years of research conducted by The Gallup Organization suggest that the most effective people are those who understand their strengths and behaviors. These people are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, their careers, and their families.

A review of the knowledge and skills you have acquired can provide a basic sense of your abilities, but an awareness and understanding of your natural talents will provide true insight into the core reasons behind your consistent successes.

Includer

“Stretch the circle wider.” This is the philosophy around which you orient your life. You want to include people and make them feel part of the group. In direct contrast to those who are drawn only to exclusive groups, you actively avoid those groups that exclude others. You want to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support. You hate the sight of someone on the outside looking in. You want to draw them in so that they can feel the warmth of the group. You are an instinctively accepting person. Regardless of race or sex or nationality or personality or faith, you cast few judgments. Judgments can hurt a person’s feelings. Why do that if you don’t have to? Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect these differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same. We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve.

Connectedness

Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force. But whatever your word of choice, you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it. This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities. If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves. Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system. You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life’s mysteries.

Input

You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information, words, facts, books, and quotations, or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Why are they worth storing? At the time of storing it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable.

Positivity

You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. Some call you lighthearted. Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be. But either way, people want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious. Lacking your energy and optimism, some find their world drab with repetition or, worse, heavy with pressure. You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit. You inject drama into every project. You celebrate every achievement. You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down. Your Positivity won’t allow it. Somehow you can’t quite escape your conviction that it is good to be alive, that work can be fun, and that no matter what the setbacks, one must never lose one’s sense of humor.

Woo

Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don’t. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection. Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet, lots of them.

Mountains

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When the mountains are at your feet,
and this life’s got you in too deep,
when this world’s got you feelin’ weak,
that ain’t home, that ain’t home.

When the birds, they don’t sing your song
and your words, they come out all wrong
Yeah, life, it’s been gone too long
that ain’t home, that ain’t home.

When you write a song and its true,
when you climb just to see you through,
when they try, but your smile comes through,
this is home, this is home.

When your heart, it feels way too small,
and you wait, but you get no call,
when you wonder, “Is this all?”
that ain’t home, that ain’t home.

When your days start to fade and blend
from the start, you can’t see the end,
you might break as you just can’t bend.
that ain’t home, that ain’t home.

When there’s sunshine on your back,
you’re not broke, not even a crack,
and this love’s got you right on track,
this is home, this is home.

When the stars that lit up your night,
they go out or just seem less bright,
and you wish your dark had more light,
that ain’t home, that ain’t home.

When your moon’s taking back the sky,
you can’t fall even if you try,
you remember you have a why
this is home, this home,
this is home, this is home.
~Allison Lickley

What I Almost Was

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It was my senior year
I just turned eighteen
I was a friday night hero, with division one dreams
I had an offer on the table
A four year ride
‘Til that fourth and two and twenty four dive
I left on a stretcher, wound up on a crutch
Walked on that next summer
Wound up getting cut
Flipped off that coach, left that school in the dust
For letting my dreams go bust
But I thank God I ain’t what I almost was

Yea, I moved on back home
And came awful close to being some son-in-law to some CEO
Coulda been a corner office, country club, suit and tie man
Answerin’ to no one, but her and him
I ran out on his money, ran out on her love
At four in the morning I loaded my truck
I left my home town in a big cloud of dust
I just had to follow my gut
And I thank God I ain’t what I almost was

In guitar town I bought this old Epiphone
Started stringin’ chords and words into songs
I’ve been putting in time on Sixteenth Avenue
Pouring out my heart for tips on a stool
I ain’t making a killing, but then there’s those nights
When the song comes together and hits ’em just right
The crowds on their feet cause they can’t get enough
Of this music I make and I love
And I thank God I ain’t, yea I thank God I ain’t,
Yea man I thank God I ain’t, what I almost was
~Eric Church

Land o’ the Leal

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I really like the word “leal.” I think that we should always work for the land of the leal during the brief time we have on this earth. I have always wanted to be a leal man, but I’ve hard a hard time living up to it. I find it incredibly difficult to be honest with myself, my motives, my abilities, and my responsibilities. In other words, I often have felt disconnected from truth and humility.

For instance, one thing I’ve recently discovered about myself is that I have a tendency to change my goals to match my actions over time (giving up old goals), instead of changing my actions to match my goals. It’s like I act a certain way without knowing exactly why I act that way, but I change my outlook based on the action, without truly considering whether it is the correct or best option for me.

I want to create the land o’ the leal, and I now know that it starts with creating it in me. The question then becomes how to do it?

I’m wearin’ awa’ Jean,
Like snaw-wreaths in thaw, Jean,
I’m wearin’ awa’
To the land o’ the leal.
There’s nae sorrow there, Jean
There’s neither cauld nor care, Jean,
The day’s aye fair
In the land o’ the leal.

To me ye hae bee true Jean,
Your task’s ended noo, Jean
For near kythes my view
O’ the land o’ the leal.
Our bonnie bairn’s there, Jean,
She was baith gude and fair, Jean,
And, oh! we grud’d her sair
To the land o’ the leal.

But dry that tearfu’ ee Jean,
Grieve na for her and me, Jean
Frae sin and sorrow free
I’ the land o’ the leal.
Now fare ye weel, may ain Jean!
This warld’s cares are vain, Jean,
We’ll meet and aye be fein
I’ the land o’ the leal.