Friday, April 8, 2016

So, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

About a week ago, my friend tagged me in the 'Seven Day Nature Challenge,' in which one is meant to post a photo of nature for seven consecutive days. I imagine it is meant to help us take in the utter beauty in which we find ourselves. Recently, she said something about the challenge, and my response was, 'Yeah, I am definitely not gonna do that.' 1) I am already inundating folks with photos of my trip. And 2) I further clarified, 'I would probably be a smart ass and do photos about, like, the nature of truth.' This idea, however,  niggled into my brain while I took in the phenomenal landscape of Da Lat, Vietnam from the back of a motor bike.

So, here is my 'Seven Paragraph Nature Challenge.' And, I nominate each and every one of you to pick the paragraph which resonates most with you and have a solid belly-button day (day of introspection) with it. If you want to message me about it later, I would love to read it.

1) The Nature of Hope
'Hope is a thing with feathers,' writes good old Emmy D. And, Imma hafta agree with her. Hope flies wildly from place to place, intention to intention, and person to person. The nature of hope is inherent. Even if you don't believe in anything, you believe in hope. It is like a phoenix, that even when it seems like there is nothing in your life but ash and destruction, there is a little baby phoenix ready to grow with you and help you soar far above anything you can imagine.

2) The Nature of Dreams
Pipe dreams have been fueling my future since before I can remember. By this I mean, grandiose plans of future seen through a telescope. And, now, as my future approaches rapidly, these dreams barrel towards me, regardless of my readiness. And, maybe that is their nature-- the exact moment when dreams meet reality and they have a gladiator style fight to see which is victorious. What happens if one consumes the other? Does the dream become reality, the reality become the dream? Maybe both, and that is their *true*(I swear to science no pipes [dreamy or otherwise] were used in the creation of this paragraph.)

3) The Nature of Humanity
Much of my recent view of humanity has been kind of negative. With all of this social media, it is easy to feel like we're drowning in a quagmire of hatred. However, I spent the past several weeks with some humans who I feel practice 'reckless optimism' (term coined by Hannah Hart). These humans have recharged my ability to see humanity as the humans with whom I choose to spend my time, I share my world. The nature of humanity *should be* bettering yourself for the communities in which you've found yourself. And, this could look radically different depending on your community. And, I must remind myself to show love and compassion to those who do not agree with me. Each person has a voice, and I must respect that.

4) The Nature of Sexuality
Let's all come to this with a base understanding that sexuality is a spectrum. The right or wrongness of various sexualities, is a gay of a different gaggle, which I may or may not tackle (hey-O!) in a different post. Sexuality is something inside each of us. It is how we express (or not express) our primal desires (or un..ummm...desires). So, why is sexuality such a taboo topic. If people talked about it as something we all have, we would have a much higher respect for sex and the power it can have. Okay, putting the soapbox away. Sexuality is something fluid, as are your feelings about who you are as a sexual being. It is.. it is like.. a Turtle( ice cream) milk shake. No, stay with me through this simile. Sexuality can be sweet and pure like the frothy little bubbles on top, but as you delve deeper, you find a myriad of other flavours, textures, and tastes. There is not only softness, but also some things can be hard to swallow without chewing them over a bit first. There are surprises and sometimes a few nuts. But, when you mix it all together you have something special, something specific, and something that is totally yours. The best part of a Turtle milkshake, though, is sharing it with someone else (Keep in mind, there are people who don't want to share their milkshake at all. And, that is totally cool. Chill out about it.)

5) The Nature of Peace
Peace comes from within--within a person, within a community, within a country, within a world. It takes every part to decide consciously that peace if something towards which you wish to stride. It is about time that we choose peace over violence. It is about damn time.

6) The Nature of Intelligence
As computers slowly take over mundane tasks such as calculation, letter writing, and almost everything else, it is time to go back to our proverbial roots. Intelligence comes from learning. Rote memorisation and book learning are all fine and good...I guess.., but I'd like to discuss emotional intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, all the other intelligence. We gather intelligence to sustain us. We hunt intelligence to satiate our need for knowledge. We share intelligence with those around us, in hopes they return the favour. Every person has a unique set of intelligence, and the world would be less without it.

7) The Nature of Trust
Trust is the most difficult corner stone for me. It takes ages for me to build trust in any kind of relationship. However, today, I experienced rapid trust with my tour guide (also hostel owner). I jumped on the back of his motorbike ready to explore the world around me. About halfway through the day and after a few jokes about me driving for the next leg of trip, he took the backseat of the bike and taught me how to drive a motorcycle, like, a real one. He was gentle and careful. He explained everything before I had to do it. He was so calming. Then, later in the trip, after a few mishaps with a head stand, I had some gravel under my eyelid. My guide blew in my eye to dislodge it. It took several quick puffs, but he finally got it. And, I am not sure about Vietnamese culture, but I think being air-bonded means we're married? So, you can send any wedding gifts to my mom's house. I could do with some Tupperware. Joking aside, I was astounded at how quickly I trusted this man. The nature of trust, then, may be an openness and readiness to explore parts of your self, parts you've hidden from others, and even parts you didn't know existed. I must approach new situations, new people with readiness to learn as much about myself as I learn about them.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

So, you only hate the road when you're missing home

Wah wah skittlesnacks. It has been a minute. The above lyrics are from the Passenger song, 'Let Her Go.' And, in the past, I have listened to this song with self-pity and a tub of ice cream. However, it wasn't until recently that I really *heard* the song.

I walked past three guys jamming with their acoustic guitars right outside my hostel in Laos. My friend and I sat down to listen to them and just take in the night. Then, they started playing Let Her Go and asked us to sing with them. I looked up the lyrics and started to get into it. As the chorus came, these words caught in my throat and I faltered. I couldn't really continue.

And, here's the rub. I've never not missed home. I have been homesick more than not over the past four years. And, now I am so close to it; I can practically taste the cheese. This long way home has shown me that I don't hate the road. I love it. I love being in new places. I love exploring. I love being able to find my way around with nothing but the sun...and a pretty solid GPS. But, there is something special about talking to my mom and saying, 'Okay, I love you. I will see you in a couple weeks.'

For anyone who's not lived abroad, 'see' can mean anything from skype to emails to letters, but it rarely means actually see with my own eyeballs. But, really, I will see my mom in, like, twenty four days. I will hold my niece and head butt my sister in seventeen. I will hug my dad in sixteen.

And, so I have been challenging myself to 'Let Her Go.' By this I mean, let go of myself. Let go of my fears. Let go of my hopes. Let go of things like past and future. I have the rest of my life to sort out all of that. I hold the present with open fingertips, allowing it to flow through them like sand, appreciating it for what it is and not trying to hold on.

And, in that, I will know that I love fully because I am truly letting go.