Flower, seed, and soil

I am the flower, the seed, and the soil.

I am the flower,
beloved and bright,
I root to the earth,
and stand in the light.

I am the seed,
my potential’s unknown,
but with tender hands,
my glory is grown.

I am the soil,
holding steadfast and sure,
and I nurture new lives
with those who came before.

I am the flower, beautiful and brave;
I am the seed, pure possibility;
I am the soil, built o’er the grave;
All these, and more, live within me.

One World, One People

The concept of Unity has come to prominence lately, with recent events bringing people together. And with regards to those events and the idea of Unity, I wanted to put in my two cents on the concept. So, here we go.

I’ve seen much of the discussion of Unity come from a religious, spiritual, or philosophical perspective. And while that is a beautiful thought, I have a few issues with what I’ve seen coming out of those camps.

1) Self-righteousness – groups I’ve seen put forth the idea of Unity dream of its implementation through conformity. Christians think the world would be better if everyone was Christian, vegans believing the same if everyone abstained from eating meat and using animal products, feminists think they’ll save the world with feminist, and etcetera. Regardless of whatever measure is used, it all boils down to one thought:  The world would be better if everyone was like me. And to that I can but ask, “Why are you so special? Why is your way the one, true righteous path? Why must all others forsake themselves and their identity for your vision?” Does your Unity only come to fruition by the subjugation of others?

2) Everything would be better if we were all the same – even if the conformity I mentioned in my first point came to pass, would people still be harmonious? Hasn’t religion provided points contrary to that throughout history? Even within the same religion, different people interpret things differently. Catholics and Protestants are both Christians, and share the same basic beliefs. But these groups still come into conflict even with those same base beliefs, as seen in Ireland for Christianity or in the Middle East with the Sunnis and the Shiites. I guess the Devil is in the details, as they say.

In my eyes, Unity is something unlike all of that. It sees others not as threats or rivals, nor does it strive to understand and respect others, nor does it strive to embrace others out of love. Unity is seeing no distinction between others and ourself. All the world is in us, and we are in all in the world.

But what does it really mean? What will it really take to get there?

Can you see yourself in another person, and them in you? Whom do you imagine when you do this: a parent, a lover, a child, or a friend? Indeed, that is the correct answer, but it is also an incorrect answer. Or perhaps more gently, it is an incomplete answer.

Can you see yourself in a rival as well? What about in a stranger? Can you see yourself in a romantic interest who rebuffed your advances? Can you see yourself in another person who practices a different religion, belongs to a different political party, or has a different sexual orientation?

Can you see yourself in an enemy? Can you see yourself in someone you hate or condemn?

The world is not lacking monsters, and they must be challenged and overcome. But each and every monster, every murderer, every rapist, every pedophile is still a person. They may be someone’s lover, just as you may be. They may be someone’s parent, just as you may be. They are someone’s child, just as you are.

Can you see yourself in them as well? Can you cultivate compassion for our fallen brother and sisters, even knowing that they must be stopped – and killed if necessary? Do you grieve for the perpetrators as fiercely as you do for the victims? Can you?

That is the absolute, unyielding cost of Unity. And it is not something we can demand of others – it is something we must first cultivate in ourselves. Only then can we go out into the world and inspire others to follow that path, rather than demanding or terrifying them into converting to our beliefs.

We are one people. We are all in the world, and the world is in all of us – the good, and the evil. Can you open your arms, your mind, and your heart wide enough to welcome home those whom are most lost, and steel yourself to challenge them if you must?

To me, that is Unity. That is One World and One People. It is difficult, but it is also worth pursuing.


They say you have a heart of stone –
cold and unfeeling, you cannot be moved.
But I know better.
Yes, I know better.

You have a heart of crystal –
shimmering and shining the day away.
You catch the light sent your way,
reflecting and refracting it.

The stillness that they see
is their own inflexibility.
They call you cold only because
they cannot bear embracing you.

There is a garden in your heart
that catches fire every dawn,
enraptures rime every moonrise,
and welcomes wonder every starlit night.

Every crack and every flaw
is but one more purchase for the light,
and all the scars the world gave you
add a beauty called “character”.

They say you have a heart of stone –
cold and unfeeling, you cannot be moved,
but you carry a cultivated prominence,
and your glory grows with each new day.

On thinking big

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, you figured out something that would revolutionize the world. Maybe you discovered out how to let people fly, or the secrets to teleportation. And let’s also say that you’re in a position to spread that knowledge to the world immediately. Would you?

Most people would give an enthusiastic, “YES!” to that question. Whether you share that kind of information out of the goodness of your heart, or you sell it to make a fortune, I imagine most people’s first reaction would be to immediately share or sell what they’d discovered.

I would not, because I’ve given some thought as to what that would do.

If we revolutionized transportation, things would change – and in a big way. Cars and trucks would become antiquated luxury items. This would reduce pollution, but it would also put a whole, WHOLE lot of people out of work.

And I don’t just mean the major car manufacturers. I mean the majority of car dealerships, gas stations, and mechanics – just gone. Heck, the iron and oil industries would probably be hit hard too with such a sharp decrease in demand. The shipping and trucking industries would likely take a hit as well, depending on what the revolution was.

Forget about thousands or even hundreds of thousands of jobs lost…making such sudden and drastic changes to the world would leave tens of millions of people unemployed.

I could probably think of a few ways to more thoroughly destroy the world, but I’d have to put some effort into it.

Which brings me to my point: thinking big is good, having grand dreams is great, but always think big enough and grand enough to include the consequences of your actions. I don’t say this to discourage people from trying to make the world a better place. On the contrary, I think a revolution in transportation (for example) would do the world some good. But if this or any other revolution is done without consideration for those whom will be caught in the path of change… That will create quite the tragedy.

Song of spring

The world spins and turns,
seasons come and go,
and while winter is on the rise,
spring will come again.

The nascent glacial weather
will frost the fall foliage,
but snowmelt waters sleeping seeds
and nurtures new growth.

While the winds sharpen icy edges
and the days dim and darken,
the nights burn brighter
with kind-hearted company.

And as the snows pile higher,
we stay snug as bugs on a fireside rug,
laughing loudly with such mirth
that we shake clean the rafters and the roof.

And when spring finally returns,
it’s shocked and surprised to learn
that we’d carried its spirit all winter long
to greet the buds with joyous song.

On being normal

I’ve felt like an outsider quite often in my life.  Whether I’ve been a fifth wheel or a freak, I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve felt out of place.  And sometimes, I desperately want to fit in – to be one of Them.  Sometimes, I just want to be normal.  And lately I’ve come to a bit of a revelation:

Man, fuck normal.  I’m going to be extraordinary.

So many of the things I’ve tried to learn in the past few years have been centered around smoothing out my edges – trying to be more a part of whatever crowd I’m courting.  But it’s never made me happy.  I just get frustrated, and eventually the entire situation leaves me feeling resentful.

I had a post a while back where I wrote about cost efficiency, a concept I learned from video games, and how I try to apply it to real life.  And trying to become “normal” makes me think of another gaming concept:  character customization, specifically emphasizing strengths over filling in weaknesses.

Filling in weaknesses is a good idea, on paper.  You create a character to be more well-balanced and versatile.  However, a jack of all trades is also a master of none.  In most gaming situations, you do not want characters that perform averagely at all tasks.  It’s usually better to specialize:  one character is a durable fighter, while another is a magician whose only form of defense comes from cloth robes.  In some games, you can customize those “clothies” to be more durable, but it always come at a cost.  A balanced clothie will never produce the same level of damage as one who specialized in damage.  And while the damage clothies are affectionately referred to as “glass cannons”, it is always the priority of a good party, raid, or guild to protect their glass cannons during a fight.

So how does any of this apply to life and the real world?

I’m not good with social graces.  I’m usually one of the wallflowers in any given the room.  And I could work on that – try to get out more often, challenge myself to strike up conversations with people, and break out of my shell.  That sounds like great advice actually, on paper.

But the time and energy I spend on that takes away from other areas of my life.  Social events I attend take me away from my writing, and they’re sometimes so emotionally draining that I’m exhausted even before I get to the event in question.  That means I’ve lost energy before I get there, and I lose time afterwards putting myself back together.  Then I do it again and again and again, trying to eventually get it right.

They DO say insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results, so…

What can I do about my little problem?

  1. Do things that you really want to do
    Doing something for practice is good, but that doesn’t mean each and every scenario is equal and interchangeable.  I don’t drink beer, so spending time at parties with a lot of people who are into home brewing is perhaps not a good idea – especially if the only reason I’m there is to “talk with people”.  It might be better for me to hang out at a gaming store or take a writing workshop.  That way I can practice, if I really want to, but the real reason I’m there would be because I want to be and I’m actually interested in what people are saying.
  2. Do things that emphasize and improve on your strengths
    If I want to be a writer, I could spend my time writing instead of trying to force practice conversations.  Or I could read books, watch movies, take classes, study – anything that exposes me to stories and story-writing.  All these could be better things to do over sticking my square self into a round situation and hoping it turns out better this time.
  3. Do things you really need to do
    I could work out, stretch, do yoga – anything to improve my health.  And all of these are things I enjoy doing that will improve the quality of my life, without trying to force myself into the mold of being “normal.”
  4. Say, “Fuck it!”
    Think of the famous people you know – how many of them had quirks and idiosyncrasies that set them apart from the crowd.  And did the world really judge them in the end?  Probably not!  The world embraced these people who had the nerve to say, “You’ll never make me any less than I am!”  Self-love sometimes requires us to look at the situation in question, and throw it the bird.  And I think it’s far better to focus on loving yourself for who you are, than to try to change so that others might like you.

So, fuck it.  I’m gonna stop trying to be normal, and start being awesome.  And good luck to all the naysayers, because I’m gonna be too busy being me to listen.

P.S. Here’s a comic I found this week, on Chloe C’s GoGetARoomie, that hit me right in the normal feels. (This page is SFW, the rest of this story is slightly more NSFW at times.  It is awesome at all times though, IMO.)

A kind of love

I want to fall in love
with the kind of passion
that sweeps me off my feet
and leaves me breathless.

I want a love so sweet
that I dream the days away
by my beloved’s side
on cotton candy cloud nines.

I want a love so salty
that she makes sailors blush,
but who carries a depth within
that puts the oceans to shame.

I want a love so sultry
the we pass the long winter nights
like short summer days,
warm in each other’s arms.

I want the kind of love
that breaks my heart
when time, fate, or fortune
eventually tears us apart.