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.

Control

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.