Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolutions

Dear and loyal Reader,

I'm glad you're back!  As 2012 nears to a close, I've been thinking about good times and bad, reflecting on the goings-on of this year, and plotting/scheming/planning ways to make 2013 great.  What I have not been doing is making New Year's Resolutions.  Those are for suckas.

Let me explain.

Several years ago, I realized that New Year's Resolutions didn't work for me.  I realized that if there was something in my life that needed to be changed, waiting until the first of the year to change it wasn't doing anyone any good.  Especially me!  However, what I failed to do in the past was set goals-- we'll come back to that later.  So, having realized that I was no sucka, I stopped making resolutions at the start of every year.  I started along a laissez-faire path of living my dream life, doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, setting my own destiny on my own terms...

No, that's not what happened at all.  You see, I'm a mercurial person.  A friend once described my personality as "random chaos" (which I always enjoyed as a recursive double-definition).  I have a tendency to want to try everything, but I don't want to put in the effort to get "good at" anything.  The things that I am naturally good at tend to be the things furthest from my reach at a given moment--when I was in the Navy, I didn't have take many opportunities to sing.  I bought a French horn that I rarely played.  I was like a dog distracted by squirrels; anything shiny or interesting that came my way, I went after it.  I traded a washing machine for a banjo and I still don't know a single chord.  I made some collages when I was at sea, but I didn't keep any of them, and I only showed a couple of people.  I didn't write much...  So, I spent money on every passing fancy/interest/hobby that came my way, and to what end?  Nothing to show for it.

The lesson here is that while mercurial Melephants make mighty mates, we are also generally ghastly goal-setters.  Got it?

You see, the great thing about my observation years ago was that I realized that we can be agents of change whenever we want to be!  There are all kinds of wonderful quotes about change.  Here are two of my favorites:  Andy Warhol said "they always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself" and Gandhi encouraged us to "be the change you wish to see in the world".  The not-so-great thing about my observation was that I lacked the discipline and self-awareness necessary to realize that being an agent of change in my own life life is a wonderful thing-- if properly structured.  I didn't set goals.  Not solid, measurable ones, anyway.  In fact, I only started setting measurable goals for myself about five days ago.  Yikes!  I mean, look at the opening post on this blog!  At the end of that first post, here is what I said:

"So, Reader, what should you expect?  Crappy grammar, the occasional clever cut of jib, alliterative allusions, a bunch of mystic-speak, and an all-around good time.  I don't have a posting schedule.  I don't have a theme.  I just have a passion for sharing, and helping people not feel alone.  Helping people find their own Blue Bird of Happiness."

I don't have a posting schedule...  So what I basically said was "I am doing this because I feel like it right now, and I may not ever feel like it again.  I have put a bunch of words on the internet, and now I will tell my friends I am a writer.  I am awesome.  I think I'll go get stupid drunk and cry about how no one will ever read a book if I write one".

Goal setting is an important thing, but it doesn't have to be a difficult thing.  Goals don't have to be elaborate, they just have to be measurable enough for you to compare the actual result to the desired result and determine success or failure, and structured/detailed enough to guide you to the outcome.  If you're truly happy with what you've got, then your goal can be to just keep doing what you're doing!  Me though, I'm not happy with what I've got-- 2012 was a pretty rough year that could have been a lot easier if I had been better prepared.

2013 should be an interesting year for me.  I have tapped into a long-dormant motivation, and feel well-equipped to achieve the goals I've set.  Among my 2013 goals are to read 52 books in 52 weeks (I'll be keeping you up to date on my progress), and to post regularly to this blog.  I'll be updating on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I'd also like to see Melephant's Musings reach 10 followers by the end of the year, so I've made it easier to sign up for updates-- note the handy Subscribe To section under the archive!

Posting more often and begging for followers isn't some desperate cry for attention.  In the same quote (where I made fun of myself for) stating I wouldn't have a posting schedule I also said that I have a passion for sharing, and helping people not feel alone.  How the hell can I convince someone they're not alone if I abandon them for weeks (months) at a time?

Please feel free to leave a comment-- let me know what you dig.  Let me know what you don't dig.  Let me know one of your goals!  But keep those Resolutions to yourself.  Suckas.

Until Next!



PS:  Because someone will read this and point out that on a 5-string banjo G is an open chord, I feel the need to point out that I beat you to it.  I lied before; know one chord on the banjo.  It's a start!  And yes, I have gotten stupid drunk and cried and said no one will ever read a book if I write one.  Gonna write one anyway.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

1000 miles. Or 100 books.

It's Christmas, Reader.

I'm not much for organized religion these days, but I do acknowledge Christmas. Though, I'm a cynic, and I tend to refer to it as giftmas. Really I don't do much more than put up a tree & exchange presents, eat too much fattening food, and stay in jammies all day. That is exactly how I spent this day, only add two activities: discovering I have a follower for this blog (thank you for your support, pixiekhatt), and embarking upon my journey to read through the bibliography Matheson included in What dreams May Come.  

I both started and completed my first book in the bibliography today; Reincarnation: Five Keys to Past Lives, by J. H. Brennan.  Within the 94 pages that make up this book, Brennan briefly describes several techniques that one can use to discover who they may have been in a past life.  These techniques include use of a Ouija board, hypnosis, astral travel, and deep meditation.  My overall impression is that the book presents a good trailer of things to come.  This was the teaser-- the real work comes later.  I did notice several things in this book that were directly mentioned in Matheson's work, as well as similar themes and ideas to other books I've read (Zen Physics, Conversations With God, and to a lesser degree, Awareness).  

I found the content interesting, informative even, but though I may be interested in astral travel/awareness, I don't think discovering my "past lives" would teach me much, since I remain skeptical of being able to piece together histories in this fashion.  However, if I ever change my mind, this book offers a good jumping off point!  

So why read roughly 100 books on the afterlife and reincarnation if I'm a skeptic?  Because I hope by the end of this journey, my entire worldview is blown.  I hope to rebuild my reality several times over, each time stronger.  Like scar tissue.  

Not much to say in this one, Reader.  Similar to Brennan's book, this presents a good trailer of things to come.  This was the teaser-- the real work comes later.

Until next!



By the way, credit where it's due.  A dear friend introduced me to the three books I mentioned earlier: Zen Physics written by David Darling, Conversations With God as transcribed by Neale Donald Walsch, and Awareness by Anthony de Mello.  These books have helped me get through trying times, changed the way I view the world, and forever altered how I think of myself (which is to say, though I ackowledge that this is my version of the Universe, I no longer think it revolves around me!).  It's a process.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Crayons

Reader, you're still here?  Good.

This is a question that many people have seen: If you were a crayon, what color would you be and why?  I've tossed this question around with friends in the past.  I've probably thought about it much more than I should have.  I do that, though.  Part of my charm.

So, what color crayon would you be?  Would you be brown, because you like chocolate cake?  Or perhaps you'd be burnt umber, because you like the name and no one knows what umber is when they're five years old.  Or green, for when you look at it you remember walking through dandelion-filled meadows with gentle breezes blowing.  There are many colors and many reasons for choosing them.  Your choice is yours!

Here's mine.

I would be the white crayon.

What the fu.. what!?  The white crayon?  What on earth for?  Well...  again, I've thought of this for a long time.  So first, a story.  That's what you come here for, after all.

Last night I had an experience that I've had many times before; I was ignored.  Some background and context--  Last night I attended a concert of choral music.  I'm a (mostly) self-taught singer, an amateur.  I sing for love of music, but hold no illusions about my talent and skill.  There are some videos on the interwebs of me singing-- feel free to check them out and criticize my pitch, intonation, and vowel-shapes.  I know what I sound like.  After the show, there was a small reception-- drinks, snacks, conversation.  I made a small circuit of the room, speaking to people I knew, meeting people I didn't.  Now, in the choral world of this area where I live there are "household names" and people recognized for their craft, and I (believe it, Reader) am not one of those names.  I'm okay with that!  What I'm not okay with is speaking to one of the persons known for what they do, and having someone else walk up and interrupt me.  Mid-sentence.  It's a situation that happens to me a lot.  it happens at work, it happened in school.  It's been happening my whole fucking life.  Me in mid-sentence, and someone else walking up and talking over me.  And my listener shifting their attention to the newcomer.  Dismissed, like a child.  Maybe it's because I'm uninteresting, or short (63 whole inches tall!), or I talk too much.  Whatever the reasons, I hate it when it happens.  You'd think after a few decades on this good earth I'd be over it, but I'm not that strong.  I nearly cried last night over this.

Good story, Melephant.  What's the point?  Be patient.

I was snubbed in this manner not once, nor twice, but thrice!  So I went to another room to check on cleanup.  I saw a friend who was busy, and said hi.  He asked me if I could make sure the food wasn't put away so he could eat when he was done putting stuff away.  I made him a plate, instead.  I saw someone's water bottle left behind, so I grabbed it and returned it to them.  I saw programs left behind, so I picked them up.  You know, little stuff.  Important stuff.

You see, I'm not the flashy colors in the crayon box, like neon pink or chartreuse.  I'm not the somber and stoic navy blue or royal purple.  I'm not even the reliable and familiar red, green, brown, black or orange.  I am the white crayon.  I'm the one that's mostly ignored, nice and sharp in the box, ready and willing and more than able to help bring creations to life, but unfortunately, my presence is oft-o'erlooked.  Like me, the white crayon has a special purpose.  Like the white crayon, my specialty is stepping in where others haven't noticed something needed done.  My time to shine is during the times when others don't know what to do, or don't want to do it.  Because you see, when you draw, you ordinarily draw on white paper, right?  So the white crayon doesn't do much for you...  The white crayon and I, we aren't stars.  Our talent is supporting others, making them shine.  Draw something on an egg with the white crayon before dyeing it, and watch a design come to life that couldn't have existed without the highly-specialized, unsung, mostly ignored white stick of wax.

We all have a purpose.  Mine is not an easy one to fulfill.  It's hard to be ignored, constantly, but in my heart of hearts I know, someday it will be my time to shine, albeit behind others.  Illuminating them.

I love you, Reader.  I appreciate you taking the time to read this.  And those videos I mentioned?  The links are here, somewhere.  Just read what I wrote and you'll get the hint you need.

Until Next!

I knew you'd get it!
I learned this song in two days!   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVeG3tNQHaU 
This one took longer than two days;  courtesy of Wyoming County Chorale  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUN0eH3xANE