Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Inspiration Page

An annual practice for me which has been taking place for longer than I can remember, I wrote my New Year's Resolutions today. Ever year, I go back and look at the old ones, which were formulated by evaluating my success on the previous years - kind of a positive vicious cycle. I then think through my year and decide which ones must be kept on next years list, then proceed to read all my journal entries from the last year to create some new ones. Kind of an extensive process, I must admit, but one I enjoy quite deeply. Each year, I sent out my new list to a couple of trusted and respected friends for their perusal. This year, in an effort to look back even further, I am going to post resolutions from the past three years in succession.

New Year's Resolutions 2007
-Be conscious of writing, speaking and packing
-Money should not get in the way of experiences
-Rather than buying a bunch of cheap things you want, save for and make those expensive purchases
-Retain consciousness of the world around you
-Embrace spontaneity with intention; experience life
-As it happens inside and outside your control, work with change to make it positive
-The choices you make are defining, but not limiting; they are just pockets out of a world where similar things are happening everywhere
-Let not assumptions interfere with your outlook
-Convention does not have to get in the way of acting, reacting and feeling the way you truly want

New Years Resolutions 2008
-Give each action the amount of time and resource it deserves
-Respect the need for unscheduled time each week; maintain a weekly day off
-Allow general interests, personal goals and to-do's to operate with as much importance as work
-The choices you make are defining, not limiting; they are just pockets out of a world where similar things are happening everywhere
-Resist the temptation to see life in chunks; everything is a fluid stream of happenings that need not be separated for judged ahead of time
-Life as a whole can be informed by art, which in turn becomes a part of your whole life
-Let not assumptions interfere with your outlook
-Embrace spontaneity with intention
-As it happens in and outside your control, work with change to make it positive
-Retain consciousness of the world around you

New Year's Resolutions 2009
-Allow personal interests to operate with as much importance as other commitments
-Be willing to dedicate time and resource toward living the way you wish
-The choices you make are not limited, but defining; they are just pockets out a world where similar happenings are occurring everywhere.
-See life as a fluid stream of happenings that may not be judged or separated ahead of time
-Life as a whole can be informed by art, which in turn becomes a part of your whole life
-Let not assumptions interfere with your outlook
-Trust your instincts
-Show your gratitude
-Retain consciousness of the world around you
-Relationships do not have to be life-long to be life-changing

Notice a pattern? I do.

Now, for other random inspiration;

-"Average American living standards have risen to such an extent that material goods no longer confer the status they once did." - Richard Florida, "Rise of the Creative Class"

-"Just people-watching is arguably a valid form of cultural exchange." - Richard Florida

-"Eclectic scavenging for creativity is not new." - Richard Florida

-"As much as the body requires balanced intakes, so does the mind." - Ray Oldenburg, "The Problem of Place in America"

-"Guilt's just your ego's way of tricking you into thinking that your not making moral progress. Don't fall for it my dear." - Elizabeth Gilbert, "Eat, Pray, Love"

-"We have hands; we can stand on them if we want. That's our privilege. That's the joy of a mortal body. And that's why god needs us. Because god loves feeling things through his hands." - Elizabeth Gilbert

-"There is almost a quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads. Large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts, new places." - Alan de Botton, "The Art of Travel"

-"If we find poetry in the service station and motel, if we are drawn to the airport or train carriage, it is perhaps because, in spite of their architectural compromise and discomforts, in spite of their garish colors and harsh lighting, we implicitly feel that these isolated places offer us a material setting for an alternative to the selfish ease, the habits and confinement of the ordinary, rooted world" - Alan de Botton

-"Art cannot single-handedly create enthusiasm, nor does it arise from sentiments of which non-artists are devoid; it merely contribute to enthusiasm and guides us to be more conscious of feelings that we might previously have experienced only tentatively or hurriedly." - Alan de Botton

Happy 2009.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Passing Time

I often think of this when I go to bed early. Why am I going to bed early? I am generally not fan of sleep, so it is not because I want to gain extra. I think sometimes people's actions are motivated by, a wish to pass time, either to get away from something that has already occurred, or to get to something they wish to occur faster.

Right now, I am wishing Friday to come quicker, so I can hop on a plane for home. "I'll Be Home For Christmas"-style, ya know? Though I seem to have a good reason for the time-passing, I hate it none-the-less. I hate the feeling that I am trying to quickly whittle away hours in favor for ones that might be better. The hours being whittled are just as valid, and have waiting just as many light-years to present their unique place in time. So why do we do this?

I think a simple answer is that we humans are often driven by emotion and not logic. With logic speaking, we should be just as present in the hours we wish to whittle as we are in the hours to which we are trying to arrive. However, that pesky little emotional center likes to put its two cents in, causing us to frequently stray from the mandates of logic.

I guess what this comes to is that it is a reasonable and balanced goal to try and achieve a wedding between these two standpoints (like the jam and peanut butter swirl jars. Wait. That was in fact ridiculous and is NOT a good analogy. I digress). While I cannot deny that I wish today, Tuesday, were Friday, today is not Friday. It is in fact Tuesday (how's that for logic, huh? HUH?). And I also cannot deny that some pretty darn good moments could happen on this here Tuesday, if I just let them.

So there it is. Equal weight on time to get to the other side. Friday, that is.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I find myself feeling odd about what fits into what time and when it does it's fitting.

Canada/ Home/ Gone Back to Canada/ Leaving Canada for Home again Very Soon/ Wanting Canada to be Home/ Not Wanting Canada to be Home/ Wanting to Follow Set Plan/ Wanting to Run Away from Set Plan

Good thing there are a lot of plans, and none of them (seemingly) set other than returning home for the summer for an onslaught of weddings. Seems simultaneously a great and silly reason to be returning home.

I see myself so transient. I can see pieces of a life accompanying such a transient self (life-long friends, family, love for the Twin Cities, dancing, desire for randomness), and now it is just a matter of figuring out how these pieces can fit when transient is not just a feeling. I suppose this move to Canada was the beginnings of transient, and it certainly is not as hard as I expected it to be, because I know now, more than ever, that home will always be there and I will probably always find ways to go. In talking with Bri last night, I also realized now, even more than ever, that I am not the only person in my life whose path has strayed from home (right now or whenever). Sarah did, Bri did, the list could go on. But we are still friends. We may be different for it, I know we are different for it. Different friends to one another, different people to overselves. Regarding this, there is truth in the idea that life naturally is a series of changes, some bigger and some smaller than others. To fear their effect on your life will only stiffle your relationships, because change happens in and outside your control.

These words could be looked on as the contents of a big pill to dissolve worry, but I do not look at them so. I see these words as the layout of a menu with several (hopefully) yummy selections.

More concretely; I want to come back to Calgary next year. I want to go to grad school next year. I want to be home for the summer. I want to go to Chicago next year. I want to be home all next year. Some of these desires are stronger than others (in fact, I would venture to suggest that they subconciously organized themselves in order of strongest to weakest in desire, but the difference in their order is quite small). One thing that can be said for sure; Any of these inside and outside of control changes will certainly keep me on a path of figuring out how my body digests the choices I have made from the menu.