I’ve been thinking, over thinking…

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Sometimes we spend so much time wrapped up in our own lives, we miss the precious moments going on around us. Like these adorable sleeping kittens. Who wants to miss out on sleeping kittens?

You know what’s easy to do? Over think. Not that thinking through things is bad; on the contrary, I highly recommend thoroughly thinking through your actions and decisions. But I’m not talking about a weigh-the-pros-and-cons type of thinking; I’m talking about that type of over thinking that leads to fear, doubt, and eventually results in inactivity. We literally think ourselves out of things that we would probably otherwise do.

…are you impressed with how many times I can insert the word “think” into one paragraph? Yeah, me too.

Anyway, I think what I’m trying to convey is what God’s been teaching me lately: over thinking (obsessing?) doesn’t help anything. It hurts. We can play out every single scenario in our minds and yet at the end of the day, we still don’t have control over our circumstances.

So. Cheers to the end of over thinking. I think for me, it’s time to return to enjoying the little things. Smile and take joy in the moments that make you happy, don’t worry that your happiness will go away. You know why? Because it will. And then it’ll come back. Ad infinitum.

“I don’t want to live—I want to love first, and live incidentally.” – Zelda Fitzgerald

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The Old Astronomer

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“Reach me down my Tycho Brahé, — I would know him when we meet,
When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;
He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how
We are working to completion, working on from then to now.

Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,
Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,
And remember men will scorn it, ’tis original and true,
And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.

But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn,
You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn,
What for us are all distractions of men’s fellowship and wiles;
What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles.

You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant’s fate.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”

– Sarah Williams. The Old Astronomer was published on Jan 1, 1923.

This is a piece of one of my favorite poems. And a photo from my favorite place to run, think. and process life in the darkness. Enjoy.

Au Revoir, 2012, il a été une bonne année…

Well, it’s that time. The end-of-year challenge of wrapping up an entire year’s worth of experiences in a single blog post. Here goes nothing…

This year was great. Honestly it was. Lots of fun was had, plenty of mistakes were made, goals were reached, others left hanging, but hey, that’s life. In a brief moment of introspection, I think it’s safe to say I’m a lot stronger, maybe a little harder, and most of all thankful for everything that’s happened this year.

No regrets, remember?

It’s always funny to me how we gear up for a new year like it’s a clean slate, as if the date changing can somehow give us a fresh start. It doesn’t really make much sense; after all, time just marches on right? What really makes December 31st 2012 that much different that January 1, 2013?

Actually, I think you can sum it up in one word.

Perspective.

I think we need to operate this way, as if an arbitrary date change can mean a new beginning. We need to break up our decisions, the good, the bad and the ugly, into a manageable period of time that at the end of which, we get a re-do. A mulligan. A chance to change.

So what do you want to change? What are your goals and resolutions?

Here are a few of mine. Hold me to these…

1) Learn French

2) Travel somewhere I’ve never been

3) Read 50 books, good ones

4) Pay–off the “I’m in college and need a credit card” debt

5) Do something that scares me at least once a month (don’t worry Mom, I’ll be safe…ish)

I really can’t wait for 2013, I think big adventures are in store…

Bring it on.

Falling…

Do you ever experience that feeling where you’re in twilight sleep, just a few deep breaths away from really being out, and suddenly… you’re falling…

Down.

Down.

You keep falling until suddenly with no warning, you suddenly start. Your limbs jerk, body tenses, and you’re suddenly wide awake again.

Does this happen to you?

It does to me, and in more than just sleep. This often happens to me in life. I’m going along, going along, perhaps in some sort of twilight apathy, when suddenly something jumps out and makes me start. Something so intense and immediate it stops me in my tracks. And generally, I know I’m going to be different after this experience, that is, I hope I haven’t become so hard as to not let this start affect me.

I know I’m being vague, but I think you can probably relate.

Recently, this happened to me as I was struggling through some difficult life things. I’m realizing more and more that life is messy, fast, and unfair. And even in a situation where answers seem to be clear-cut, that is seldom the case.

So lately I’ve been struggling with not having the wants, drives and desires I know I should be having. It’s a classic case of “I know what I should do…I just don’t want to.” Yes I realize this makes me sound like a 3-year-old throwing a tantrum, but hear me out.

My struggle is, if God wants me to do certain things, and not do others, why don’t I do what I should, and why do I do what I shouldn’t? I simply couldn’t reconcile the two. I wanted to want what God wanted in my life, but the honest truth was, I didn’t. I really didn’t care either way. Hence the twilight sleep and apathy that were overtaking me.

And then it hit.

The start.

The answer to my question.

I should have known it was coming.

I was in the middle of a run, which seems to be where most of my thinking, reflecting, anger management and escapism take place, and suddenly, half-way across the Deerfield Bridge (and approaching the 5 mile mark), God spoke. He answered. And I understood.

“You’re treating the symptoms.”

…come again?

“You’re treating the symptoms, not the heart of the problem.”

And I understood. I wanted to want what God desired for my life, without spending enough time with him to know what that was. Instead, I was fighting to somehow in my own power want what I think he wanted for my life. (Yes, I realize I’ve said “want” and “wanted” like 57 times already, but try to bear with me).

The point is this. I didn’t need to go looking for what I thought God wanted me to do. I didn’t have to worry about why I was acting out and doing whatever I wanted. I needed to spend time with my God. I needed to cool the jets and just be with him. Talk to him. And let the change and directions soak into my soul.

So…this is a very long post. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You and my mom both. Two readers down!

But on a more serious note, I’m learning the hard way to not just treat the symptoms of life. It’s never as simple as it may seem, but go back to the heart of the issue. It all flows from there.

Peace.

Vulnerability: go big or go home?

Vulnerability has to be one of the worst feelings in the world.

People tell me “oh no, it’s liberating to let everything go and feel vulnerable.” Liars. Of course, I may eat those words later if that experience ever does happen, but as of now, I call foul.

I’ve been fixated the past few days on this idea of stripping down a person (insert inappropriate joke) to their truest self. In other words, what’s really under all the walls and layers people throw up and cover up with? What makes them tick?

To me, this is the truest level of intimacy; getting to really, truly know and understand a person. How they work, how they think, what makes them smile, what are their pet peeves, what makes them cry, and why?

I’m not suggesting that the physical stuff isn’t intimate, obviously it is, but in my opinion, something that can be cheaply given away in a one night stand is not the deepest level of intimacy. Because that can’t be given to someone; it has to be studied, it has to be learned over time. It takes commitment.

And that’s another word that bums me out.

I’m deeply committed to about four things: 1) Jesus Christ, 2) my family, 3) my friends, and 4) my inability to commit to anything other than the three aforementioned commitments. Yup. I’m in a strongly committed relationship with my commitment issues. Sad, I know.

But all of this realization has led me to wonder, why do we have to throw up walls in the first place? And why are we expected to be “ok” all of the time? I think in a perfect world this wouldn’t be necessary. We could be open and honest, and not fear getting hurt. And if we did, we would have the support and encouragement to properly heal.

Alas, life isn’t perfect. Things are messy. People are fallible and make mistakes. And when we’re vulnerable, we get hurt. And then you’re generally left with two options: 1) go numb, or 2) hurt like hell.

Those are terrible options if you ask me.

But I guess this is one of those “I don’t make the rules” situations. You just have to play the hand you’re dealt I suppose. And who knows, maybe those open and vulnerable people are onto something. I mean, go big or go home, right?