Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Failure Makes Better Heroes



Every triumph is born from defeat. Without the adversity, it wouldn't be a triumph. It would just be...business as usual. That is why we don't throng to the theater to see happy people stroll placidly through their days. These people may have qualities worth emulating, but there's not  much to learn from them.


 How do you imitate someone who never screws up? Someone with no angst? Someone who has never fallen apart? I guess we could just be perfect all the time. But usually that translates into pretending to be perfect while living a lie.


No, the most important lesson we  need to learn is recovery: How to keep our hopes up when everything falls to pieces. How to forgive. And how to remake ourselves after we have been broken.

That is why failures make better heroes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yes, I am a Horrible Person


I passed a sorority house wreathed in smoke on my way to the bus stop after work. My first worry was not for the welfare of all those bouncy young girls.

I thought, "Oh, damn, now the fire trucks are going to cause a traffic jam and my bus will be late." Then I told myself that I am a horrible person. Sorority girls are people too, after all. What if someone died? Then how would I feel?

But then I realized they were just having a barbeque.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sun, Halo, Crown


Halos have been around since way before Christ. We can find them all through the history of art: Ancient Egyptian gods have orbs above their heads. Mythical Greek figures have rays shooting out of their skulls. Buddha has a disk. Hindu gods have flames.

Originally a symbol of the sun, the source of all life, by extension the halo represents power, enlightenment, godliness.

Enter the crown.

Now humans have always loved extraordinary hats, but the crown is not just a hat. Only certain people can afford gemstone-encrusted gilded headgear. It is the ultimate status symbol.

The problem is, while a crown captures the sun's shininess it doesn't confer the sun's essence, its life-giving power. The halo of the monarch is counterfeit.

We can find true power in our connection to and love of all things. It is a glow, but not a glow we see. It is the glow in our hearts when we are at peace. Some people catch a flicker once in a while. Some never feel it at all, but they try to capture it in shiny things like iPhones, diamond rings or casinos.

The true glow, the true halo, always comes from within.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

And The Sky Rolls Open




If you can look at the sky, deep on a dark moonless night, you may see the layers upon layers of stars, tiny pinpricks an aeon away, and yet huger than anything we can fathom: Sun upon sun. Galaxies of worlds. Destruction. Rebirth. Expanding and spinning out into--what? more of the same?

Then turn it inside out. And imagine that is what our world looks like from the inside, from the tiny, tiny.

And then you might decide that looking at the night sky is like seeing reality for the first time. The pale blue bowl turned upside-down over our heads in the daytime is an illusion. We are not contained. At dusk, when the sky rolls open like a giant garage door, we can see that we are actually free.

What if we floated up, up, into the vastness? Too scary? Yes, I know. But what if we let our minds rise up? What if we set aside the illusions, the assumptions by which we conduct our lives and just fly around a little out there?

And then, when we come back, maybe we can fly a little here. Fly deeper into the true nature of things. Question more. And then, when we are weary and overwhelmed, return to the nice tidy smallness, the predictability of our everyday world.