happiness is finding the place where being yourself is exactly what's needed

Saturday, October 27, 2012

leave me to wander alone, and this is what happens

today was one of my rare saturdays off. i asked for it off last month to go camping, but then the camping trip was cancelled, so i found myself contemplating what possible things i could fill today with and came up with reading Wise Man's Fear at Muddy Waters (my current favorite book and my favorite local coffee house).

i spent about 5 hours there reading in my favorite comfy chair in the corner, drinking delicious coffee and a bagel with avocado and swiss, reminiscent of my times at Shot In The Dark Cafe in Tucson. the weather was amazing, too, with the perfect amount of sunlight and all the right scents in the air. i came to the conclusion that i might be the happiest person alive.

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, with a bookmark from Tempe, AZ
(on another note, there's a cool character in the book called Tempi)

when i felt the urge to wander to the next part of my day, i did so, not knowing yet what the next part of my day would be. while walking, i decided i would get a tattoo today. i wasn't sure if i wanted to get Kokopelli on my right arm under my friendship symbol or the chorus of my favorite song "dirty face, dirty hands, dirty mind, i feel fine" on my left, under Mishipeshu. i've been feeling the urge to finally get my Kokopelli lately, but i've always felt i should get him done in Arizona.

at any rate, i figured i would let my feet carry me to the next part of my day. if i ended up finding a tattoo place on my path, i would get a tattoo. if not, i'd probably wind up back at the house with an evening pot of coffee and an open notebook. either way sounded fine, since i was walking around with that bliss you get from being in the middle of a great book.

while walking through a quiet neighborhood, i started getting closer to an elderly woman also walking on the sidewalk. knowing that i sometimes scare people when i come up to quickly behind them, i veered off the sidewalk for what was meant to be a few lengthy strides. it ended up being me slipping and landing in an awkward heap in the mud.

i was laughing instantly, and the concerned look the woman on the sidewalk gave me was certainly no cause to end that laughter. removing my earbuds as i got back up, i said "serves me right for walking in the mud."

the woman was rather kind. she offered to let me come into her house to wash up, but i declined, as only one knee and one hand were very muddy. she told me that she's legally blind and falls a lot, and she told me a story about how she once tripped over a construction cone in a crosswalk and landed right on the hood of a car, and no one stopped to help her or ask if she was alright. i made a mental note to offer assistance if ever i see someone fall, which isn't necessarily the norm here in SB.

walking away, i pondered the significant of falling into the mud because i was trying to avoid an obstacle and not paying enough attention to the path i was taking around said obstacle, an obstacle that turned out to be a rather nice person. seemed like a good lesson. then i realized how if i hadn't slipped, i would've talked to one less interesting person today, so i added that to the thought pile.

then, of course, while rubbing my palms together to remove as much of the dried dirt as i could, i laughed because my hands were dirty. "dirty face, dirty hands, dirty mind," then. i had my answer.

eventually my feet carried me to a somewhat familiar intersection close to where i live. i had the distinct feeling there was something important here, and suddenly i was all but tripping over a sign that read "tattoos."

there was no obvious entrance to this place. it was up a windy little staircase, which suited my sense of adventure rather nicely, even though i was a little nervous at first, thinking i was about to walk unannounced into someone's home. but fortunate smiled, and it was, in fact, a tattoo parlor.

i walked in the room to get inked, and there was the girl who'd been working at the coffee place when i showed up, also getting inked. we'd left at different times and somehow both ended up here. we chatted a bit about our tattoos, while some friendly fellows drew on us with needles, and i felt like i'd made another small but interesting human connection today.

on my way back to the house, i was thinking about how when i got my first tattoo, the friendship symbol in Tucson. i'd just been sitting there writing at Shot In The Dark and idly scratched my old symbol onto the paper. shortly after, a friend of mine i hadn't seen in a while, had no way of contacting, and had been hoping to run into showed up. we chatted for a bit, made further plans, and then i went to the tattoo place next door and had the girl put my symbol on my arm, as a way of feeling always connected to my friends, i suppose, though near or far.
that little friendship symbol i leave everywhere

i thought about when that was. 2008. i laughed. this is 2012, and my Mishipeshu is from 2010. what, do i get a tattoo in a different state every two years? i laughed harder when i realized that the other ones, though i don't remember exact dates, were also gotten in Oct. it was Oct. 2008, when i first moved to Tucson, and i got the tattoo within a few days of being there.

Mishipeshu was a going away present from a buddy in Michigan, when i moved to Tucson for a second time, in an October 2 years later.

creature of habit much? 

the chorus of "Dirty Mind" by The Miller Stain Limit, beneath Mishipeshu

I'll leave you with a quote from Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, page 556:

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he'll look for his own answers." [...] "That way, when he finds the answers, they'll be precious to him. The harder the question, the harder we hunt. The harder we hunt, the more we learn."




Sunday, October 14, 2012

the world used to seem so small

the world used to seem so large and full of wonder. i'd walk around like a wide-eyed child, seeing so much everywhere i looked. i'd have trouble choosing between soaps for the bathroom, because i wondered what each would say about my personality. i wanted to make sure i was drawing the right energy. i'd look at each and envision the kind of person who might buy them, envision their whole lives and pick the one i most wanted to identify with at the moment.
stuff like that.
but as we learn and grow, we realize that every individual personality is a combination of choices. every choice is more immensely complicated than another person could possibly imagine.
so, let's take that a level more inward.
i set myself up for the kind of evening i want to have by envisioning a scene that fits more current mood and/or what feelings i want to have/work with later. then i look around for the props.
it's like when children see something they want and then have difficulty reconciling with themselves why they can't have it. it's because when they look at something, a whole world builds up around it.
so, most people probably have that type of wonder beaten out of them by the time they're 3. i, however, was always a very introspective and sneaky child. i was able to hide it until almost 30, when thoughts like this started breaking through into my conversations.
the things i look for. why i look for them. the things i hope to create.
i woke up this morning with a new sense of sadness. it was the sadness of knowing i would never look into the world again with such wonder and naivety.
but as i thought it over, thought about the ways i used to think, i realize the world was so much smaller to me, then.
in a way it seemed bigger. the world was huge and i was small, wandering through it unnoticed.
looking back, i realize the world was smaller. or, at least, i was perceiving much less of it.
the sense of wonder has only vanished because my mind has realized all is wonder. there's nothing particularly less worth wondering about than anything else. my mind is more open, and the only thing i'm missing out on is the ability to dwell.
and yet i no longer feel small in comparison to the world. i'm an equal piece to any other piece, and the world is not only one great thing, but a collection of pieces, of which i am one. it'll never be the world against me. i'm part of it.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

the debate class in my head

whenever a reasonably sized issue seems to arise, before i form a solid opinion, i bring it to the debate class in my head. the classroom is the room where i had a class with my favorite professor. the teacher is a combination of him and a couple other favorite professors of mine.
there's always been about 20 students, and over the years, i've gained more understanding of each of their varying opinions and experiences. so far, there's only about 6 that i feel i really know.
i have them discuss the things that i wonder about, and try to experience the debate through each person as they're speaking.
some of their attitudes seem cliche at first, until i dig deeper into their individual awarenesses. how they relate to one another, changes according to the debate.
some of them have always been big thinkers, and some of them haven't. but, here, they all must look into themselves equally, to find the places from which they're looking at the world.
just like in a real class, the students are continually gaining new perspectives from one another, and so each debate brings with it slightly more complicated opinions.