Monday, July 14, 2008

Do you have what it takes to be a fish?

Recently, I shared a story about a small boy whose passion in life was to go fishing with his father. Many a Saturday mornings in the summer did they wake up early, load their car, and head to that perfect spot on the river that no one else knew about. The fish were always there resting in the deep pools along the banks. Within a few short hours, they would catch their limit. This was summer to this young boy. It was the one thing that he could depend upon. Unfortunately, while this boy was still a child, his father died. We do not know how or why. His childhood was difficult after that. His mother devastated and unable to give him the attention and security that he had once felt from his father.

Now what about those fish? A fish's life span isn't that long, in human terms. They erupt from tiny eggs and are immediately on their own. They only have their instinct to guide them. I think that for this very reason fish tend to live in schools. This feeling of community and belonging helps them to make decisions. After all, the computing power of a fishes brain is not that strong. Their goal in life is to eat. When they can and as much as they can. Second, is to spawn. This is a common drive among all living species. If it were not so, they would quickly become extinct. This desire to spawn is so strong and ingrained in some fish that they will travel to the site of their own birth to lay their eggs. Often times to their own personal endangerment and death. We should also mention the hazards that they face in daily life. Many animals (including larger fish) eat fish as a staple in their diet. So there is this constant fear of being snatched up from above the surface and made a meal of. Then there is the trickery. What you think is a floating worm, eggs, or a fly on the surface of the water is actually a trap. Humans have for as long as time is recorded enjoyed fish as a source of protein. I have to admit that I enjoy fish whether it be a well barbecued salmon steak or a delicately rolled slice of fish in a sushi roll. I don't know if I have what it takes to be a fish. At least not one that survives to spawn over several seasons.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm not an idiot, I just play one in the show called 'My Life'

You ever wonder when you’ve had a bad day if it could get any worse? I know that I have. I guess that it’s just human nature to have those feelings of despair when everything seems to be going different from what you had planned. I myself am a control nut. I don’t admit it proudly, for it has cost me and those I love the most pain and undue suffering. What is control? It is a most intriguing topic. I believe that control is having the ability to make things happen according to one’s own will. This may be simple things like deciding what to wear, or which friend to talk to today. Other choices may be what to study in school, what job to have, or where to live. These decisions are sometimes difficult to make for oneself, let alone when other people are affected.

Relationships pose additional complexity to the world of control. Two people used to making decisions for themselves often with no one to answer to are asked to operate in the same environment. This can have both good and bad results. If one of the parties is less assertive, then decisions are made according to the will of the dominate party. Likewise, if two less assertive parties come together good decisions are not easy to come by as neither party is willing to make much effort. On the other hand, if one party is more assertive, then their way tends to be ‘the way’. If you put two more assertive parties together, they most likely will fight because each thinks that the other is undermining them and taking control away.

When two people love each other and decide to join their lives, there is compromise between them. It is not possible for both to live as they previously did in harmony. Sacrifices must be made on both sides as to the bigger decisions that affect both of their lives. This type of sacrifice and compromise is an ongoing process that cultivates your relationship and brings you closer together. But this sharing of control takes effort. You must consciously make the effort everyday. I think this is where I have gone wrong. You see, in my twisted little upbringing relationships were never as they are ‘supposed to be’. Consequently, once I found and married my wife I took her for granted. No man should ever make that mistake.

I am currently reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (I thoroughly recommend it). A certain passage struck me today as I was reading it. Let me quote, “You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it’s going to rise tomorrow. When people are dedicated to [anything], it’s always because these [things] are in doubt.” This totally makes sense to me. I had the foolish assumption that my relationship with my wife would always be there and that I didn’t need to work to keep it well maintained. Now I’m not saying that we should all live in fear that our relationships are going to fall apart. But simply that we should all treat our relationships as something fragile, perhaps even a growing thing. You would never pot a plant and then forget to water it, place it in the sun, and periodically fertilize and cut its leaves would you? Of course not. Neither should we think it permissible to stop showing little acts of affection and respect to our significant others. Let them know that we love and appreciate them, and above all share control over what happens in both of your lives. And if they love you, they will reciprocate those things back to you. Don’t be an idiot.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby Right Round

Life is an enigma. We are born, we live, and then we die. All that is important to us happens between the born and die. Is life difficult? I think so. We are posed with so many decisions that it can be daunting to make any choice. What will be the outcome? What will be the rewards and/or consequences? Who else will be affected? This is how we live. Not in fear but cognizant. However, every once in a while we stray from our normal patterns. We do something that doesn’t fit our M. O. Are we no longer who we think we are? Are we a different person? I’d like to think not. I’d like to think that we have just made a decision that will enable us to learn and grow from the choice that we have made. A famous saying comes to mind, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy? I think that it can be at times. If you are willing to put yourself out there and make the effort to squeeze the lemons, add the sugar and water, and stir it all together you can have lemonade. Let us all make lemonade! Felicitaciones!