meditations

do something, essay, meditations

Friendship

Option 1: Abigail is living her life. She has her routine: wake up, get ready, work, spend time with her family, read a book, go to bed. She has the occasional events with church and work and community and life. She lives in her own little sphere, and it’s pretty happy there. A bit lonely, but she has her routine that she keeps doing over and over again, so it’s okay. Social media and videos help with the loneliness. And if she gets feeling down, she does something special like taking herself out to dinner and travelling to see something new.

And then one day, Barbara knocks on her door at 7:00 in the morning. She brings Abigail breakfast with orange juice. It’s weird, but Abigail likes orange juice. Abigail isn’t sure what to say. And Barbara isn’t sure what to say either, but they exist there together eating toast, until they both resume their routine and go to work. Abigail is late, but she finds that she is happier than normal.

In the evening, Abigail texts Barbara and tells her thank you and that they should get together sometime. Abigail doesn’t expect a response, but Barbara says, “How about we go to lunch on Saturday?”

And so Abigail ends up having sushi with Barbara, and while she is there, Barbara offers to babysit her kids so that Abigail can have a date night with her husband next Friday night at 6:30.

But Abigail feels confused. She had been living happily in her sphere and no one bothered her, but here is Barbara, inserting herself into Abigail’s life and she feels like she finally has a friend.

Barbara comes and babysits on Friday. And then Abigail decides she is going to text Barbara something a few days later, though this feels a little awkward and weird. “Hey–do you want to go have lunch again tomorrow?” And she nervously clicks send.

“Sure! That’s sounds awesome!”

And so it continues. Abigail finds out that Barbara has lots of other friends, and then Abigail get lots of other friends, and then she don’t exist in her own little sphere at all. She doesn’t feel lonely very much anymore.

Option 2: Barbara thinks it is too awkward to bring someone over breakfast first thing in the morning, and so she stays home and sends the occasional text message but never feels like she has any friends.

Friendship is not about giving people space. It’s not about waiting for convenient times and it does not take place on the internet. Being a friend is when you insert yourself into someone’s life and you both end up happier because of it. It can be awkward. There are missteps and confusion. You do things wrong a lot, but that’s okay. You can’t keep waiting for an invitation. Friendship doesn’t wait for an invitation. Friendship is the invitation, and it comes from you.

 

fractured, meditations

Thoughts

  • I’ve always thought I had a problem spending too much time on the computer and that if I could just get better, I would overcome the problem and it would be gone. It was my problem, and I had to come up with a solution. But that’s not really how things work: computers and the internet and all of that can be distracting and addicting for everyone. It’s not my problem. It’s a problem that exists, and no matter I do, the problem will still exist. It’s not really a matter of overcoming it. I don’t need to feel guilty because computers are distracting. That’s not my fault. But I can do the best I can with what I have to work with.
  • Being really intelligent is when you can strip away the posturing and just have good and simple ideas without complicated phrasing and appeals to authority. Smart people don’t feel the need to sound smart, and often the simplest way to say something is the best.
  • Money is very tempting to use to quantify basically everything, but the numbers usually don’t tell us much. What is more important is service and caring for other people in small and significant ways, and that can’t be quantified.
  • The most important relationships are with our family.

 

 

fractured, meditations

Rejecting Productivity

I’m not great at this. I love being productive. I love getting so many things done in a day. And it sounds like a really good thing: learn and create and do and earn and work and work and work.

I love hard work. But productivity is this whole other thing. It’s the rate of output per unit. It’s being able to do so many things with the hours you have in your day. We celebrate it a lot. More is better (which is usually true in the study of economics, but they have it wrong because it’s not accurate for life).

I find myself basing my self-worth on my productivity levels. Which makes me sound like I’m sort of machine, some sort of statistic as I try to increase my output. But I’m not working for anyone, except for my family, and they really don’t care much about my output at all.

I have these ridiculous to-do lists and goals, and a lot of times, I do a lot. Right now, I’m homeschooling my kids, remodeling a house, and taking two college classes. And I do more too, because that’s life: I blog and I write and I read books and I cook and I clean and I drive a lot. I learn extra things, like R and data science. I’ve been scanning and sorting photographs from my grandparents. I visit friends. I redecorated some rooms a few weeks ago. I play the piano. I exercise. And there is so much that I put on my lists: transcribe, start a business, write a book, etc. etc. etc. Some people are impressed with how much I do, and that feels nice–but I don’t know if it’s the best direction to go in.

I often think about my life in terms of how much I’ve accomplished. I look back at certain times and think that I really didn’t do much because I wasn’t involved in a whole lot of major projects. But I am not necessarily a better person because of my goals and accomplishments. Some things that I really would like to do (go outside more) just don’t happen. I find myself overwhelmed and I shut down.

I have searched and watched and read about how to do more with the time that I have. But doing more just to do more really isn’t helpful. Being productive is not always the right thing to do.

There are meaningful things in my life, things that I love, that I don’t always have time for. And I want to change that.

I’m not sure how. This is more of a question, a beginning, and that’s okay. I hate giving up projects. There are so many things that are undone and so many things I want to do.

A part of me wants to really likes to define my life by how much I accomplished. But so many little things don’t matter very much at all. I need increased focus. I need to learn how to say no. And I need to not do things just to say that I did it, just to increase my output without any reason.

What do you think?

meditations

Gifts

We don’t want toys. We want to play. 

We don’t want books. We want to read. 

We don’t want games. We want to spend time with each other.

The best gifts are a promise of a happy life–together–with love.

meditations

A meditation

Breathe.

Breathe.

Time moves forward, linearly progressing. After one breath, there comes another.

Your heart beats. After one beat comes another. And another, always moving.

And your thoughts move as well, one after the other.

Notice your thoughts.

While they may seem to jump around in distraction, they are always linear, one after the other after the other. Multiple thoughts don’t exist at the same time. And when the same thought comes back, it is really a different thought, in a new time and a new place.

But in the linear progression of life, we find a constant: YOU.

You are not a collection of thoughts and experiences. You are a single consciousness, aware of yourself and aware of an identity.

And in that identity is awareness of a higher power and of transcendental love.

Throughout all the many moments of life, you are loved.

And when you understand that YOU are loved, the linear nature of life becomes upward, progressing not towards pleasure or satisfaction, but towards that love, and towards the expansion of that love.

When you know you are loved, you will love and share that love.

Your thoughts will turn outward and upward, knowing there is a higher reason.

With love, your heart will continue to beat.

With love, you breathe.

 

fractured, meditations

Stages of life

Baby. Incredibly fast learning and growing.

Toddler and preschool. Discovery that there is a physical world.

Elementary. Discovery of self in that world.

Middle school. Loss of self as the world gets bigger and more metaphysical.

High school. Rebuilding self in expanding circle.

Young adult. Connecting with the world as it really is.

Adult. Parent. It repeats.

Parenting babies. Fast learning and growing as a parent.

Parenting toddlers and preschoolers. Physical and fundamental teaching and parenting.

Elementary. Intensely guiding your children the best you can.

Middle school. Starting to let the kids make their own choices.

High school. Take a back seat role of support.

Young adult. Letting your children go.

And rediscover yourself again and again, the self that exists after parenting expanding you to something different.

We move from stage to stage, bored and busy, loud and quiet, tired and energetic, connected and lost.

Grandparent. Great-grandparent. It repeats.

In circles, one things remain: we must choose. 

fractured, meditations

Gratitude, Fear, and Perspective

Having less often means that you are more grateful. Isn’t that silly? I just heard Brene Brown talk about how when we are really happy and things are going really well, we usually are expecting something horrible to happen. We don’t let ourselves feel joy. We don’t let ourselves be truly grateful for the absolutely amazing things we have. It’s okay to be grateful. It’s okay that you have a lot and that you recognize that. Life is unfair–but sometimes that works in our favor, and we can recognize the absolutely amazing blessings we have.

Fear makes us do stupid things. I get scared of getting tired, and so I don’t do anything (and I feel tired). I get scared of being sick, so I don’t fully engage in life or take care of problems when they happen. I’m scared of talking to people, so I end up being super awkward. Fear isn’t rational. Fear doesn’t lead us down good paths.

Sometimes, it has been useful to me to zoom out on my life. We can get so stuck in avoiding those small moments of pain that we totally forget about the big picture. It’s good to remember the good picture: everything goes away. Right now is all we have.

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One-liners to think about

Children are not problems to solve, but people with problems.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Phillipians 4:11). 

You can live with your emotions no matter how intense; what you can’t do is live without them.

When you want to treat yourself, try water, vegetables, hard work, exercise, and getting your house clean.

meditations

rich and poor

Have you ever noticed how much you really have?

Someone always has more, but someone also has less. Thoughts often crowd your mind–new clothes, more space, better car, bigger bank account, more, bigger, better–you forget what’s already there.

There are so many different ways to travel: barefoot, sandals, bike, used car, airplane.

There are so many different things to eat: rice, beans, fish, fruit, bread, cookies, hamburger, steak.

There are so many different ways to live: tent, shack, trailer, rambler, mansion.

And you can accept and love what you have.

You can love where you live. It’s not small; it’s huge. You can love what you wear. It’s not out-of-style; it’s fancy and comfortable. You can love the contents of your cupboards and your closets (and the fact that you have cupboards and closets).

And then you forget that you want more.

You rarely recognize what you have unless you remember that you could have so much less. So many have so much less–and yet, many of them live happily.

Imagine for a moment living a different sort of life–maybe in a mansion or maybe in a shack. And in that different life, are you different? Does life still continue?

There is gratitude at every step if we choose to recognize it.