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A Transition, A Reflection

September 3, 2012

I’ll have good intentions

but no exit for them to

come out right through.

– Cody Bonnette

 

For the last four months, I have had plenty of time for thought and reflection, whether it’s been on the road blaring the meditational sounds of mewithoutYou, sweating through the humidity of Florida, sitting in the breathtaking scenery of the Wind Rivers, or on a couch or picnic table of a friend or family member’s house or campground. Throughout, the words “Be still and listen” have grown new meaning. Meditation has been the largest component of my time since graduating nearly four long months ago and there have been two things that have stood out to me in this time: one, that even good intentions can place you far away from doing what is best; and two, how quickly it is to forget or ignore or set aside the direction you have set for yourself.

I’m sitting right now on my uncle’s couch in Kennewick, Washington, my last stop before I finally make it to Portland on Wednesday. Last night, (I arrived in Kennewick yesterday afternoon) I felt overwhelmed by the love and kindness that I have experienced from all my friends and family, particularly in these last four months. I have been unbelievably blessed and everything I have has little to do with me and so much with all of you.

And it is because of all of you, I have this incredible opportunity to chase my dreams in Portland and begin my next chapter flying by the seat of my pants as I go, which I am forever thankful for.

However, I have realized that at times, I have been an idiot, particularly over the past year or so. I’m not going to go into the specifics of my mistakes, but I just wanted to make clear that I acknowledge them.

Would I take them back if I could? Maybe a few, but that’s meaningless. We live in a world where time only moves forward. But I hope that if I have wronged anyone who is reading this, that you will forgive me. I have learned the importance of grace, because I have needed it, just like we all need it. No one is perfect. My cliche alarm is beeping, so I will digress.

Be still and listen.

This is the phrase that I have been reminded of time after time over these months. You can read all the books in the world (not really, there are a lot of books out there), but what you will gain from living this phrase out is so much more valuable.

But unfortunately, every great epiphany can be forgotten as quickly as it came.

I spend a lot of my timing thinking about ethics. “What is the most ethical way to approach this or that?” is a common question I ponder. And I will come up with some attempts of answers and find myself in a situation where I quickly disregard said answers for the feeling of a good time.

Don’t get me wrong, having a good time is not a bad thing, but there is a difference between happiness and joy; happiness can be unhealthy. It is like a Dorito, while joy is like a naturally grown potato. The former gives a higher sense of immediate fulfillment, but the latter, you can literally live off of. Therefore, I find it important in a situation to ask one’s self, “By doing this, am I searching for happiness, or joy?” And actions build on one another. The more happiness you seek, the more you will confuse it for joy. The more joy you seek, the easier it is to recognize it.

Obviously there is some grey area and I think in some cases it is very subjective, but I have come to conclusions in my own life where I have made the distinction and then gone for the Dorito.

But, is it bad to eat the occasional Dorito? I don’t think so, depending on the situation. In situations where I know I need a potato, however, and pick the Dorito, in my opinion a mistake has been made.

And how you treat yourself is a metaphor for how you treat the world.

If you choose to consistently ignore your convictions and bury them for that taste of that delicious Dorito, you are not affecting only yourself, but the world around you.

G.K. Chesterton once wrote that we are all different, thus allowing us the ability to truly love one another because, as he argues, it is quite easy to love what is familiar. And I agree with this philosophy.

But, I think there is more to it. We are all different, but we are also all the same in a certain sense.

And every mistake I have made was not just a mistake made for me, but for everyone else.

When I chose a certain action that I now regret, I screwed up for everyone, not just me.

So, going forward, I am going to try my best to stand up and not let the situation dictate my choice, but my choice dictate my situation. When it comes to certain cases, of course. Am I being ambiguous enough?

What I’m trying to say is that it is important to recognize when a situation can be damaging to, I hate to use this phrase but I’ll go ahead and do it, the greater good. The greater gooood!

It is important to recognize when you are consciously ignoring what’s beneath the surface of an action or a decision because the surface is shiny and bright.

Let’s dig deeper.

Let’s grow together.

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