Monthly Archives: November 2012

Exploring Love Part 2

Hello and welcome! Last week I tumbled into love, and this is part two. Since I am following no frame work to organize these thoughts yet I recommend giving last week’s post a read to catch the all too important details.

To sum up the main points, I supposed that love as it is meant to exist does not exist very often.  I meandered through a good working definition of love  that means to be for someone or something. I also concluded that we cannot sustain love on our own because we do not have enough of it by ourselves. At the same time I concluded that in order to have love it must be shared. Instinctively I know these are both true. Somewhere on the road I learned love is exchanged through relationships, so we do need to give it to have it. I also learned that giving love away without being filled in return will eventually sap someone of their capacity to love. Since this is not a thesis I will not need to go any farther than this, but please feel free interject here. I am looking at this part through a my own lens. Let me know what your lenses tell you. For now I am going on as if these were true.

The paradox between not having enough love and needing to give it away makes sense if trust is considered. If you show your support for someone just to get love back the act loses its meaning. Unconditional love does not exist if the motives are only to fill in your own needs to receive love. At some point the one taking the bait will catch on to this conditional giving. To make love right involves just giving of yourself because you want to. The latter action says, “I care about you.” the former says, “I care about me.” In order to give love well there needs to be trust that you will receive the love you need somewhere. Without trust it is hard to do what it takes to be in a relationship where love can thrive. Sometimes the trust is challenged by hard experiences, but the trust needs to be there in order to be able to give love as well as to be able to receive it.

Trust solves the perceived paradox very well. It also brings the idea of risk taking to mind. You see trusting relationships are not formed quickly. In relationships new or old it can take a while to count someone as trust worthy with parts of your life. There is a great deal of wisdom in being a good steward with your heart, and not giving it all away to something you do not know is safe yet. But at some point there needs to be an initiation of relationship or a risk. I suppose this would be like being an investor. They would throw a little bit of cash on this idea or that idea to see if something happened. This analogy quickly breaks down since the  investor is expecting a self gratifying return, but there are some shared aspects with love here. Scatter some love here and  some there you will see some take to it and you can give them more. Eventually love comes to roost in this way.

I have definitely concluded one thing about love; it is an enormous topic to explore. There are so many aspects to love that I want to explore more. Love is at the center of everything that we call good and true in this world. I realize how many times I have heard this said in life. The Beatles have put some variation of this truth in their songs no less than 8,196 times.* In just in focusing my thoughts on the role love plays in my life I am discovering these truths in much greater detail than I had before. I could run with this topic down until my fingers are nubs. However, I will only dedicate the next few posts exploring why love is some important and what does love do for us/to us. Perhaps we can all benefit from an out loud truth finding conversation about the most important thing in our lives…ever.

I am running out of time this week. I am breaking away from an engagement that I could not avoid to write this, so I apologize for the brevity of this post. Next week I will continue exploring aspects of love. I will also attempt to introduce a framework for how I will go about this exploration so I can be more organized in my thoughts.

Until next week!

*Entirely fabricated, but you get the point.

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The Love Post

Hello there! I would like to first  welcome the new followers of this blog. Be sure to read the “Why am I Writing This” section to get an idea for what the blog is about. I hope you enjoy the ride with me! Also please feel free to bring your thoughts and feelings to the discussion. I really got a lot out of the comments from last week’s post! Thank you for bringing more life to the conversation!

Let us talk about love tonight! Love is a basic and core part of life. I think it is good to explore one of the core pieces to being human once in a while. Yes, it is entirely worthwhile to talk about love! So, let me say something about it.

The first thing I want to say is love is not sexual attraction. Romantic love is a primary source of love for some adults, but it is by far not the only place that love comes from. In addition, not all romance ends in sex. In an ideal life you would get love from your parents and siblings first. Then you would get love from the close community your family has around. As you grow older the love you receive would come from a community of people that you gather for yourself. This group would be called your friends. Next you would search out for a person to share all this love with. This would be your future spouse. He or she would have their own circles of love in their life and the two circles would meet each other and thus create a large circle of love for the couple to have their own family in. Love is everything from birth to death, and not just the sexy parts of life.

The second thing I want to say is love is a needed thing and love is in short supply. There is good evidence that this ideal picture did not happen for a broad swath of the population. Somewhere on the chain things got really messed up. More than likely, the chain was messed up long before our births. Nobody knew something was broken and/or how to fix it if they were aware of the problem.

So if we need love and there is not enough of it on hand the next logical question would be, “How do we make love?” The problem with love is that it is not entirely up you to bring love into existence. On your own, love that is given and not received will eventually dry out.  On our own, unreciprocated love does not last long. The truth as I have found it is no one person is enough to fill their lives with the love they need.

Also love does not seem to be just a send receive relationship. With real love there is no giving to get. When someone gives to me in love I know it, because the person simply wanted me to have something they thought I would better off with. If you had that experience, the warm glowing feeling you get is love. It appears there is a paradoxical relationship in not having enough love on your own to give without receiving, yet making love is to give and not be concerned with getting love in return. But I am doubtful this is the entire picture.

At this point, I need to back track.  I have avoided the question that should have come first.  “What is love?”  Anyone that has been to a reasonably Christian wedding has heard 1 Corinthians 13. To paraphrase, it says love is patient, kind, and everything nice. Everything that is mentioned in this part of the Bible is true about love , but the writer does not define what love really is. To me love simply means I am on your side. Love means to be for someone. If I love you I will do what I can for you. If there is something I think will be good for you, and you would be better for it I would want to give it to you.

There is plenty to explore regarding love, but I need to stop for tonight. I will certainly pick up were I left next week. I am looking forward to getting into about what being for someone means. I will also get back to the paradox next week as well. There is no end to the things that are worthwhile to talk about when it comes to love. I can continue on exploring the facets of love for quite a while. Maybe I will.

Thanks for reading and good night!

The Writer

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Men, Masculinity, and Manhood

Hello there! Today gender issues have been on my mind. I get the impression that there are a lot of men that are not sure who they are. I want to take this week’s post and talk about what I am seeing with men today. I am going to keep it clean, but I do not want to be so clean as to sanitize my truth. There are some difficult things about gender for me as I am sure there are things about gender for everyone. I am also curious to know what your thoughts and feelings are regarding men. The range of perspectives on the male gender run as deep and wide as the oceans.  If you have a thought please share it.

Men are all sorts of things in this world, but the thing I do not like seeing in a good deal of men is the confusion about what to be. If a man decides to cry is he less? Can a man let another man hold him and be ok with intimate nonsexual touch? Do men realize how healthy that is, and how thirsty they really are for male intimacy? These questions arouse in me a desire to project what I think is true for men.

When I think of what a man should be many things get stirred up. I know several types of men in my life, yet that does not run the whole gamut of the types of men that there are out there. Does strong, tender, and intelligent really encapsulate all that a man should be? I should hope not. What one dimensional socials lives we would all have!

The problem I am having with putting men into a few boxes is that most men do not fit all the way into them. A man with a sensitive heart and an artistic leaning would not identify with a definition of a man that said they needed to be stoic, and therefore think he might not be a “man”. That is unless he was of strong character enough to say “to hell with that!” It appears the reason I am having a tough time figuring out what to do with masculinity in my life is because my definition is so narrow.

The truth that I am seeing tells me men are all sorts of things, and they need every last part of themselves. Sometimes men need to be strong, draw lines in the sand, and say “ENOUGH!” Other times men need to hold new born babies, hold them gently, and smile into their faces like a great big welcome into the world. And there are all kinds of things in between.

I think all men are inherently good. A friend of mine once told me that they would not mind being friends with any healthy adult male. They said that if they were adult and healthy they probably would have a lot to offer no matter who they are. I reflected on this and determined this was the truth. Men are made for relationship, and to be healthy would mean the ability to be in a relationship that was pleasing and edifying to the other. We are not here to be difficult for each other or to hurt each other. That is just not how it works. When it gets to a point of pain chances are something is not working and needs to be addressed.

I also think culture tears the image of masculinity to pieces.  I know great men out there worthy of being honored, written about, and held high as examples. An overwhelming majority of these honorable men do not look like a sit com father or a Spartan. I do not get to see enough good male representation in media. The gender engendering that I see for both men and women is sad. I think most American men think they should be football players, and not talk about their feelings because men are not supposed to have them. This does not seem to be a very good picture for men at all. The intricate machinery inside a man’s heart is inspired and wonderful.

What I think men need is for other older men to tell younger men that they are in fact good men. Young men need to know they pass the inspection, and can now think of themselves as real men. I have seen men be affirmed like this, and the ways that their lives grew afterward were astounding. So men affirm each other! If you are an older man please keep an eye out for the young man who needs your words. A society with men that do not know who they are is a society that is robbed of the goodness of true adult manhood. And in the void adult boys run around making a mess of things waiting for mom, and boy will she be angry as she ought to be!

The last thing I want to say is that I want to have room in my life for all different kinds of men. I want to love and respect the athlete and the artist. I want to know the energetic and the calm and slow. Men are and can be so many different, fantastic, wonderful things. I celebrate that with this post.

The Writer

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Some Truth About Anxiety

Hello there! For those just viewing this blog this is a continuation from last week’s post Fast and Furious. Do not worry it is not political it just mentions politics. I surveyed the social/institutional landscape and commented on the pace of life and level of anxiety that is present in it all. This week I have promised to put some thoughts and suggestions on the table. Go back and have a look if you want, but the synopsis I just gave should be sufficient for you to get the hang of what the discussion is about.

I realized a few days after I wrote last week’s post that I was getting into a territory that I am intentionally staying away from in this blog. That would be advice giving, or another way of putting it would be to appear to have the answers. The full post on that is here. This post is not an easy bake way of dispelling anxiety. It is just a supposition of what is going on, and my own evidence for it. It is a fine line to walk. I am not entirely aware of where it is, but as Potter Stewart put it when trying to define pornography, “I know it when I see it.”

Where I left off last time was that roughly 10% of Americans where being medicated for anxiety and depression, while 30% of the population experienced levels of each enough to justify being medicated. In addition nothing good can be done in the business and political spheres, because as Americans we live in a society that demands immediate results. It all boiled down to calling our fast living society a symptom of anxiety, and anxiety is what I am going to focus on in this post.

Let me confess that I loaded the dice on the last post.  No, it was not a trick I was playing with you. I just realized I fell into the trap before I named it for what it was. My vision is distorted by my own anxiety, and I was merely painting the picture that matched the anxiety that I feel about the culture I live in. On some level I feel anxiety about the lack of education for youths that live in poverty. I feel anxiety that our government is not proactive in resolving issues. I feel anxiety that I must wake up tomorrow and work on an objective that is being driven by the fear of coming up short. I have anxiety this post might come up short of expectations. Whose expectations might you ask? Most likely my own.

Either way you and I know the world may not be as dire as it seems. I know this because the anxiety I feel comes from reading the news. The anxiety gets stirred when I read of a half way informative article of what really happened in Benghazi, or when I check in on the latest swing state poll. “Oh my gosh! It is 49% to 49%! Who is going to win?” Owning a smart phone with a robust data plan ensures I can keep spooning it in at a high frequency. These are the inspirations for the landscape I paint of the broader world. Note to self: start getting new muses.

There may or may not be an amount of anxiety that you are presently experiencing in your life. I once believed that everyone suffers from at least a kernel of anxiety bouncing off their innards. The kernel would be something like some constant nagging worry about their lives or future. But I have been out in the world enough to know some people that do not seem to be affected by anxiety this way. Some of them could just be good suppressors. The stuff is buried so deep that they do not even know it is somewhere in them. Though I know the lives my worry free friends live well enough. There is too much integrity in them for me to believe that they are in the habit of burying feelings even subconsciously.

I poured a great deal of thought into these friends of mine. I was interested because I had been plagued by depression and anxiety for a great deal of my life. I even named it. I call it the monolith. I watched them closely. Yes, even I studied them. Being the anxiety free people they are they happily talked very plainly with me. The truth is they do not see the world differently from me. They read the same papers and believe it is not a pleasant picture too. The big difference was that they see themselves differently than I see myself. My anxiety free friends carry with them a sense of purpose like I have never seen. They hope as a choice and consciously believe people close to them love them even when things get tight and people get hurt.

I need to back track for a moment and say that calling my friends anxiety free is a bit of a misnomer. They do experience anxiety. It is a natural part of living. They respond to the worry and fear by giving it up and choosing to hold on to hope even in the middle of hard times.

I am faced with an outlook on the world that deals with people clamoring for money, sex, and power as if that were all there is to living. Then I have friends in my life that live in the same world as I do and see the same things, but they walk through it with more grace than I would think possible. Going from the society at large to my social life it becomes clear that the issue behind the anxiety is one step closer. It is me. If two subjects are placed in the same environment and respond differently the difference is likely in the subjects.

Somewhere under the hood there is something missing or an atrophied emotional muscle that I am loathe to use. The brokenness can be many things, but the response for me is always the same. I am the one responsible for the level of anxiety I choose to have in my life, and there are real ways of dealing with it. I would not have known that if I was not told that by my friends.

The missing piece was to have faith that ultimately the truth will always win. I learned that without that kind of faith there is no point of looking for anything else for help, because in the end it will be a temporary fix. The next big wind, and by wind I mean trouble, will blow your life to the ground.  This could very well be a great mini sermon. “Faith will cure Anxiety.” But that would not be entirely true there are many things that will help people deal with anxiety, and each person needs their own custom prescription. In addition, there is no such thing as a cure for anxiety. Anxiety cannot be completely erased from living. Most people deal with it on some level from time to time.

What is true is that having faith is where I started to find the truths about my life, and then started living accordingly. What is true is faith stretches someone to reach outside of their own vision. This is especially useful when everything seems to be closing in and worry is the theme of the day.

One more thing I discovered was that whatever the faith is in  it must be greater than yourself. I also know some narcissistic friends. One thing I realized is that they are internally (emotionally spiritually, intellectually) stunted because their inner bean poll was only as big as their concept of themselves. In other words, they were not being stretched to grow outside of their own perspective. The anxiety that is in me would appear to be a permanent state of affairs without something that is bigger than me to trust in; because, I am not enough to deal with it alone. If I were alone in this I would want the fastest life possible with all the money, power, and sex I could find in order to cope.

Thankfully, that is not the case for me.

If you want to read up on a person I feel is living with this kind of truth in his life his blog here. Enjoy it, it might inspire you. In fact, WordPress is full of inspiring blogs. Go explore!

The Writer

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