Posts tagged with "balance"

little heart, go slow

Spring offi­cial­ly begins when I can leave the win­dows in my house open all day. This only lasts about a week though, and is also around the time I have to remem­ber to turn the stereo down at red lights and res­i­den­tial areas, a small price to pay for the sim­ple plea­sure of wak­ing up with a breeze on my face.

It’s been more than a year since I’ve been on a sched­ule. Even the num­ber of meals I have in a day has start­ed to vary. Goals and dead­lines are what help me keep pace. I know this can’t last for­ev­er, so I’m tak­ing advan­tage of the time to be free and explore and estab­lish the bonds I’ll need for the next stage of my life.

cherry tomato cheers

The strug­gle now is about bal­ance, most­ly between nour­ish­ing myself and my rela­tion­ships, as there’s rarely enough time for both late­ly. Thankfully, spring is teach­ing me patience too. I’ve stopped try­ing to con­trol every­thing, and I’m let­ting go of the ten­den­cy to want things be to be dif­fer­ent from how they are right now.

The old me would have been scared to so unre­served­ly place myself in the hands fate. Now I know I’ll be okay if I can find hap­pi­ness in how­ev­er things are at any moment.

Relevant Renaissance, Part 2

it’s dif­fi­cult to be upright and per­verse, emo­tion­al and intel­lec­tu­al, impen­e­tra­ble and vul­ner­a­ble, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the integri­ty and val­ue of all of them.

—corus aqui­lo

This is the first time that a com­ment has been so good, it spawned anoth­er entry (although I fail to see how being a well-round­ed indi­vid­ual has any­thing to do with per­son­al iden­ti­ty, so I cut that part out).

In P.E. dur­ing high school, I learned that there’s no such thing as the per­fect ath­lete. If some­one builds up their speed, they lose endurance. If some­one works on their strength, they lose flex­i­bil­i­ty. To be a per­fect ath­lete is impos­si­ble, because there’s a very strict phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tion involved.

To be well round­ed in a much more gen­er­al sense, to be a mod­ern day (non-ped­a­gog­i­cal­ly rel­e­vant) Renaissance Man, on the oth­er hand, is only lim­it­ed by the mind. This means that many qual­i­ties do not oppose each oth­er the way phys­i­cal qual­i­ties do. One can be cere­bral, intel­lec­tu­al, yet emo­tion­al at the same time. One can be firm and opin­ion­at­ed about recy­cling, yet open-mind­ed about god and reli­gion, all at once. One can appre­ci­ate fuck­ing hard and fuck­ing gen­tly, because one does not take away from the oth­er.

The key to this is a sep­a­ra­tion of self from bias. One has to be able to appre­ci­ate any­thing from any oth­er point of view. To do this requires an almost pure­ly sub­jec­tive mind­set, tear­ing one­self away of ones own bias. Only then can one improve in any aspect. The hard­est thing, as not­ed by corus aqui­lo, is keep­ing the integri­ty and val­ue of both, because appre­ci­a­tion, not enjoy­ment, is the true mea­sure of being round­ed. They may go hand-in-hand, as appre­ci­a­tion often leads to enjoy­ment, but it’s the basis of such that becomes impor­tant. There’s a fine line between those who enjoy a box of Kraft Dinner as much as 20 oz. New York steak, and those who can appre­ci­ate the two. The for­mer is con­sid­ered a per­son with no taste, the lat­ter can be con­sid­ered a cos­mopo­lite.

The Olympic decathlon record hold­er often holds the title of “the Worlds Greatest Athlete”. It’s the only objec­tive test of all around ath­let­ic abil­i­ty, mea­sured in speed, spring, strength, and sta­mi­na. To be a bet­ter per­son in the gen­er­al sense, is to be a round­ed in much the same man­ner. The mea­sure is any­thing from con­ver­sa­tion­al skills, to gen­eros­i­ty, to golf hand­i­cap, to patience, to aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ments.

The only objec­tive test is life.


With change comes the need for con­trol.

And with emo­tions run­ning through me in an almost uncon­tain­able, effu­sive man­ner, that need for con­trol has nev­er been more nec­es­sary.

Usually, this comes eas­i­ly. It feels as if I’ve been train­ing my whole life for such a thing, that I’ve spent most of my time work­ing towards becom­ing a cere­bral per­son. Except that in the past, it’s was to edul­co­rate the pain.

Now, it’s to con­trol the hap­pi­ness. The almost inef­fa­ble feel­ing of eupho­ria.

Sometimes, I can bare­ly con­tain the surge of emo­tion, and I have to stop myself from act­ing out, to keep my mind in check. I refuse to be one who acts out of emo­tion. I refuse to be one who’s at the whim of what­ev­er mood I’m in.

I will be stronger than that which has become so impor­tant to me. I will be in con­trol of that which I’ve sought so long to have.

Because bal­ance is more impor­tant than hap­pi­ness.

Reversal: Part 2 (The Floundering Mindset)

Out of the storm of life I have borne away only a few ideas — and not one feel­ing. For a long time now I have been liv­ing, not with my heart, but with my head. I weigh, ana­lyze my own pas­sions and actions with severe curios­i­ty, but with­out sym­pa­thy.

—Pechorin, A Hero of Our Time

When I was younger, I decid­ed that I want­ed to cast all my emo­tion aside, because at the time I knew noth­ing but pain. I set this as my goal, and start­ed to work towards a ster­ile, cere­bral mind­set. I want­ed to feel noth­ing, and this idea fol­lowed me through to uni­ver­si­ty.

At this time, I nev­er believed that I was com­plete­ly suc­cess­ful; I still felt too much. However, as my sit­u­a­tion changed, as I met new peo­ple with good hearts and minds, I expe­ri­enced what hap­pi­ness was like. I was nev­er sat­is­fied though, nev­er hap­py enough, and always want­ed more but could nev­er achieve it. Suddenly, it felt as if my cere­bral goal was too suc­cess­ful, and I was stuck, I was numb.

I’ve gone from one extreme to the oth­er, from want­i­ng noth­ing to want­i­ng every­thing. In both cas­es I was a fail­ure, but it’s only now that I real­ize that suc­cess would have assured­ly meant no turn­ing back. I believe that when a cer­tain extent is reached, one becomes igno­rant to any­thing that could pos­si­bly change one­self. Now I under­stand the bal­ance, the dichoto­my that absolute­ly must exist in order to have a healthy mind.

And things are much bet­ter this way.

The Greatest Balance

When I went home a few months ago, I found a copy Soul Mountain at Chapters, which I had been look­ing for, ever since I found out about it. I’ve been read­ing as much as I can late­ly, when­ev­er I have the time and the ener­gy to con­cen­trate on what Gao Xingjian is try­ing to nar­rate to me.

The thing that makes the auto­bi­og­ra­phy inter­est­ing so far is that Xingjian was incor­rect­ly diag­nosed with fatal lung can­cer, and after prop­er review, had been giv­en a sec­ond chance on life. His out­look changes, and he begins to see every­thing around him very dif­fer­ent­ly.

I’ve late­ly felt that, although I’ve nev­er been threat­ened with any life-alter­ing inci­dents, I’ve begun to see things dif­fer­ent­ly as well. It’s as if I have noth­ing and every­thing to live for. That there would be no dif­fer­ence between dying tomor­row or in eight decades. It’s almost as if I’ve had my fair share of expe­ri­ences, each one as impor­tant as the oth­er in shap­ing who I am, good or bad, and that this is already suf­fi­cient for me to be sat­is­fied with my life. Perhaps I feel this is true when I com­pare the amount that I’ve already learned with the infi­nite amount that is impos­si­ble to learn. After all, what is the pur­pose of life any­way? For me, it is to con­tin­u­al­ly shape myself into a bet­ter per­son, whether it’s intel­li­gence, or a bet­ter appre­ci­a­tion of music, or dex­ter­i­ty, or any­thing. And since there is no absolute goal I have to reach (or can reach), there is no way for me to fail, and death hence­forth becomes mean­ing­less.

When I tried to explain this to some­one, he got con­fused, and thought that I was telling him about how I had expe­ri­enced all there is to expe­ri­ence already. This could­n’t be fur­ther from the truth. There are a pletho­ra of things I haven’t done, that I haven’t been through, and when­ev­er I’m giv­en the chance to actu­al­ly expe­ri­ence one of these things, I feel as if I’ve gained more out of life.

Instead of see­ing the act of liv­ing as cross­ing out items on a life-long “to do” list, I see it as writ­ing down items on a “have done” list.

The great­est dis­tinc­tion for me between these two world­views is that I can take my time in doing what I want, instead of feel­ing rushed to accom­plish as much as I can before I die. Seeing life this way has cer­tain­ly allowed me to be a much more relaxed, flex­i­ble, easy-going per­son, unin­hib­it­ed by the fear of death. The good thing about this is that I did­n’t have to fool myself into this view, sim­ply because I was unsat­is­fied with my life. Somehow, this mind­set shaped itself in my brain, and even­tu­al­ly man­i­fest­ed itself through my ever-con­tin­u­ing matu­ri­ty.

It has made life mean­ing­ful and mean­ing­less at the same time.