Saturday, September 18, 2010


Lately I’ve been thinking about desire and its role in our lives, my life in particular.  I’ve made some great and not so great decisions because of desire.  Desires seem to be very wrapped up in our emotions and feelings.  They are what spur us on to the attainment or quest for attainment of something.  Desire is what happens when we find holes within ourselves-- we want to fill them. 

We desire the most things that are scarce.  It’s simple economics—little supply equals high demand.  Take gold or diamonds for example.  Same goes for love and relationships.  When you’re in a relationship and that person desires you, your time, your affection, and so on, it’s a turn off.  It can be frustrating and flustering to be wanted by someone, but secretly it’s satisfying not to be the one lacking.  Within the story of love, inevitably the tables turn, and then we are the ones who want to be desired.  As much as we may try, we can’t push it aside or hide it from the other person.  Just like truth, desire wills itself out.

At times we can feel out of control of our desires.  They have the power to take us away from the present and out of an awareness of being.  We become powerless as our yearnings take over and manifest themselves as whatever action we think can get us what we want.  Like a child who finds a toy in a store and feels that they not only want but need this particular toy.  After asking politely doesn't get them the toy, they throw a tantrum in the middle of aisle 3 while the parent tries to shush them, control the scene, and avoid the gazes of passing shoppers.  After a while, the child realizes that perhaps they don’t really need this toy, life goes on, and they’ll be okay with out.  The desire subsides.  They stop crying, and the shopping continues.

As much as I hate losing myself to desire, I guess that’s just part of the human condition.  It’s something that you just have to ride out.  I don’t think all desires are like this.  Biological desires that deal with the self are fairly straight forward (i.e. eating, sleeping, etc.).  However, when desire involves another person (i.e. intimacy, physical contact, friendship, etc.), things can get more complicated, because you have the desires of two people to take into account. 

Desire is different for romance and for friendship.  We have different intimacy needs met by different people in our lives: people that will be there when you desire comfort, people that will be there when you desire a good conversation, people that will be there when you just want to have a good time, and so on.  In friendship, you’re looking out at the world with that other person.  Our desires for a good laugh, a happy time, a good conversation, etc. match fairly easily.  You know which friends to go to in order to fill certain needs and desires within yourself.  It’s more complicated with lovers.  Lovers tend to look more at each other than friendships do.  We channel some of our deepest desires here.  Sometimes they don’t match up as perfectly, because it’s one person (not like the selection of friends you can go to for different desires).  Or sometimes one partner has desires for something at a time when the other doesn’t.  Desires are something that the partnership needs to learn to handle and balance.

I also believe desiring is a way of loving ourselves.  It puts us on a journey of self-discovery as we try to find ourselves through our desires.  Desiring different things brings us different gifts.  For example following our dreams and aspirations can bring new people, wisdom, experiences, etc. into our lives.  These things grow us and stretch us in new ways.  And as our relationships fill different desires within us, a reflection of ourselves is created in that relationship.  We see ourselves through the others' eyes, as the cliche goes.  Another person's understanding and awareness of us allows us to see ourselves in a new way.

Ultimately, desire is an inescapable part of life.  It can spur us on to great deeds or lead us to make some poor choices.  There is a part of desire that we're helpless to control, but I think there is also a part of desire that we get to mold and shape by being who we are.  Although desire can be frustrating at times when you're not getting the object of your desire, there are still some really beautiful gifts within desire.  I hope that both you and I find them.  :)

Friday, September 17, 2010


It's such an intricate part of intimacy. H said once that [American] adults usually only get touched in romantic or sexual ways, so they associate being touched with sexuality.  But that's not all that touch is.  I know that many other cultures handle touch differently (i.e. holding hands as friends is acceptable).  For now, I'm just pondering Americans and the other folks from the developed world and how they view touch.  Americans tend to be very individualistic, and they view themselves as having their own bubble within which they move about the world.  They also don't often like it if people encroach on their bubble uninvited. 

Every human being craves touch.  Babies die with out it.  People harden when they're left untouched.  We have gotten confused-- touching is not always sexual.  Somehow we have hidden, lost, and/or muddled that desire for touch.  It's almost as if we've isolated ourselves in our individualistic bubbles.  The thought of a lot of 'friendly' contact scares us, and we shy away from it.

What have we come to?
How have we gotten so mixed up with this particular human need and desire?


one touch can be magic.
like a tiny spark in the dark.
a rush of warmth to a cold soul.
within touch is every word in silence.
it brings us a hope that shimmers below the surface.
touch calls us to something deeper.
beyond what we can see.
touch is love.

love is touching.
love is touching.

love is when two people--two spirits-- touch each other.
when four eyes meet...
when two hearts connect...
when two minds collide...
when two hands grasp each other...
when ten fingers lock...
when two people physically connect...
when conversation warms your soul...

love is touching.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


To be Alive
is to be Awake and to Know.
To Live
is to Fly and to See.
To dance to Life,
you must first feel the rhythm.

Monday, September 13, 2010

eternal truths, etc.

The other day I listened to Ruth Cranston's contribution to the This I Believe project.  She was one of the original contributors back in the 1950's, and the title of her essay was "These Eternal Truths."  Essentially, she discusses the wisdom (or eternal truths) common to all major religions and their prophets.  The itunes podcast actually contains a little bit of extra commentary from the guys running the This I Believe show these days, and one of their comments struck me.

There has always been a lot of strife between people of different religions or different sects of religions.  Each believing that their way is the best way, and other people are wrong for not holding the same beliefs.  However, the commentator on that particular podcast contends that the mystics of various religions have always gotten along famously.  He attributes this to them having an understanding of this common wisdom, or eternal truths, and that they understand that different religions are all just different paths to the same thing.  The latter argument could be contested by some, but I would support the first.

I wonder how understanding of common wisdom would affect people's views of their religion's outsiders.  In addition, I have come to find that most ideas that there are some religious doctrines that encourage hatred and violence are actually unfounded.  It's people that create that ugliness.

I also have to wonder what else mystics have or believe that allow them to live more harmoniously.  I have a few ideas, but I think I'll leave you to ponder that yourself...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

becoming Real

"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." 
-The Skin Horse to The Velveteen Rabbit  

No wonder people are scared to be Real.

People don't like to feel pain and suffering.  That's a natural thing.  However, with all of our recent inventions and discoveries to make our lives better, easier, and happier, people try to skip over the hard things in life.  I read an article a while ago about a woman whose mother died, and after a week she started taking anti-depressants to help her feel better.  You're supposed to feel like crap a week after your mom dies-- that's grief.  It's natural.  I think many people today feel that they deserve nothing but happiness and any kind of hardship is unfair.  Life is a cycle and a balance.  You can't have happiness without sadness.  The mountaintops wouldn't be that grand without the valleys below.

Our lives today are so filled with amenities and stuff that take as away from reality.  There are people who are scared to sit alone with themselves or think.  We believe it's safer to stay clear of risk and discomfort.  We believe we'll be happier that way.  However, those cushions are what lead us to static complacency.

If we have hope to become Real, we have to accept the hardship with the joy.  That's not to say there isn't a cost-- you will suffer wear and tear.  However in the end, you will be Real, you will find wisdom, you will grow, and you will be Alive.

"Not everybody lives, but everybody dies." 
-Blue Scholars 

go deep.  get Real.  love profoundly.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

percolating thoughts (#2)

['Percolating thoughts' is an on-going collection of quotes I have found and gained wisdom from.  These are the ones that I've recently discovered and that I'm currently sitting with and reflecting on...]

"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."

"The journey by which we discover God is also the journey by which we discover, or uncover, our true hidden self in God."
-Esther de Waal

"An important aspect of emotional maturity is being assertive--not rude or aggressive-- in managing your relationships."
-Dr. Phil

"Learning to trust life is like learning to swim.  First you flail, convinced you're going to drown.  Then you notice that if you calm down, it's possible to tread water.  Finally, as your movements slow, you realize something much more profound.  When you let go completely and just relax, you find that you are magically held up by water.  It was ready to support you all the time."
-James Baraz

Thursday, September 9, 2010

direction and being

Over the past couple of days, several questions have presented themselves to me...

What do I want my life to look like?
In what direction do I want to go?

What kind of person do I want to be?
Who is the woman I was born to be?

Where is God, or destiny, inviting me to go?

Essentially, I'm asking myself where I want to go and who I want to be.

Through my experiences lately I've come to a place where I have to ask these questions of myself in order to move forward.  The answers to these questions will profoundly affect how my life changes from here.  However, I don't think this is just a one shot deal.  These are questions that I need to continue to ask myself each day.  My responses to these questions affect and shape my daily life.  I'm continually building my bigger future with the little ways that I live out these answers everyday.  And as I continue grow, my answers may grow and change with me.  

"When we don't know where we're headed in life, we are vulnerable to temptation [and to making bad decisions]." -Donald Miller  I find this to be so true.  It's important to know the direction in which I want to go and to know what I want for myself, so that I'm not the one deterring myself from getting to where I want to go and being who I want to be.  I am the one who holds myself back.

"It is very simple.  What you value is what you create." -Derrick Jensen  Ultimately, I believe I have a job to create the life I want to live (with the help of God of course).  We shape what we do and are shaped by what we do.  That's not to say that there aren't outside forces beyond our control that affect us.  However, we still choose how we respond.  I am creating my life.  It should be the one I want to live.

So, have you asked yourself-- where are you going?  What are you creating?

Monday, September 6, 2010

a walk

I took a walk with little Hajiba the other day.  She's 5, the light of my life, and the biggest ray of sunshine you will ever meet.  I feel like she taught me everything I needed to know about life in that one hour walk.

Originally I was going to go alone. At this news, Hajiba sat down and started crying.  She didn't want me to go.  I was her playmate that day.  If I was going, she didn't just want but needed to go too.  Amidst some tears, her mom eventually said, "Ok, you can go."  When life gets painful or hard, sometimes you need to sit down and cry for a minute, but then you get up and move on. Eventually, in their own way, things will end up okay.

We walked the whole way with her little hand in mine.  When we felt like it, we ran, jumped, or just simply walked at our own pace chatting and singing songs along the way. At one point she got scared by a dog barking nearby.  She leaned into me for protection and comfort.  I was there.  I would have protected her.  As we walked, she picked almonds off the trees not even breaking her stride.  It was a reminder to me that life always provides beautiful and precious gifts.  You just need to look for them and seize them.  But the greatest thing I learned from Hajiba that day is that anything and everything is better when you can hold someone's hand...

Sunday, September 5, 2010


So, I never really considered myself a lover of poetry.  Even the just the word 'poetry' conjures up memories of elementary school limericks and haikus and ideas of people on stage reading words dripping with emotion or feeling.  Yuck.  Even reading poems in a book just never did it for me.  I never felt like I understood poetry.  When the word 'poetry' arises, usually I try to avoid it. 

However in going through much of my old writings, I realized that quite a bit of it actually is poetry.  Song lyrics are poetry.  Hip hop and rap is poetry.

I have a dear friend with whom I would share much of my writing and read hers a long time ago.  Recently, I read some of her current writings, but before I read them I thought, "Ah, this is poetry."  I thought they were nice, and that was it.  I didn't connect with them the way I did a lot of her older stuff.  But again in retrospect, a lot of her old writing back in the day was poetry.  So what is it about the word and idea of 'poetry' that turns me off?

Now that I'm thinking about all this, I think by definition poetry is words with depth.  However, the type of depth conveyed is different every time depending on the author and the style.  Sometimes it's emotional, sometimes spiritual, sometimes humor, sometimes intellectual, sometimes physical movement, and so on.  I think I'm attracted to certain types of depth in words more than others.  As I would guess most people would be.  I guess I just never really thought about it like that before.  I shouldn't be so quick to judge.  I might actually enjoy it.

Here's a piece of poetry that I'm particularly enjoying today.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

cleaning out the attic...

[Was looking back at some of my writings from a while ago.  I thought I'd resurrect a few of them.  I'll share more later...]

To love and be loved. That is all there is in life, and it's worth fighting for.

To fight to love. Our minds can more easily grasp this sentiment. We see this happen. We know. But the fight to be loved is often a battle left unspoken. We cannot force anyone to love us. It's a lost cause. If we cannot attain the love we truly desire or fill that empty cavity in our hearts, we do our best to fill it with a substitute. But this endeavor becomes like trying to patch a hole in your jeans with tissue paper-- pointless. So that little patch where our skin shows, we color it blue with washable marker and hope to God no one notices. Safe only until the rain comes. This fight to be loved is not one of struggle, force, and power. It is a fight of stillness, silence, and healing. The fight to be loved takes the greatest strength of the two. This battle is most victorious when we surrender.

"I love you," He whispered.