questions for you

lots of things are going on in my head these days. in various experiences, i've been trying to separate the concept from the event, to make my choices.

in reality, i started this post weeks ago. i've made most the choices in my control, but the concepts have stuck with me. so i listed some of them below, without the stigma of my thoughts. why?

because, dear reader, you're always so good to come here and read my thoughts; this time i'd like to hear yours. and by writing down your thoughts and therefore committing them (just for this time and place; they can always change of course) maybe you can learn something, too? 

 i usually don't lobby for comments but if you have any thoughts about these, please leave a comment. i'm honestly very interested in anything you have to say.

1 // the dichotomy between being who we are and being who we want to be. similarly, trying to be who we are and being who we think we "should" be, or what our friends / family / peers expect us to be (or already see us as). 

2 // investing in something stable that brings benefits now and potential decent benefits later. or, investing in something unstable now that might potentially bring even better long-term benefits later.

3 // the tension between vulnerability and self-protection. 

4 // the balance of realism and hope. and how much effort to give to both. and how that ties into honesty, especially with yourself.

5 // perfectionism inviting paralysis

6 // where and how to draw the line between pushing ourself hard enough so that we'll grow, and overstepping that point to where we push ourselves too far, which could damage and lead to inhibition rather than growth. (ie, when you work out, you're literally tearing your muscles apart. that's why muscles get bigger; the tissue grows larger on top of the torn areas. but injuries come from pushing too hard, and then you're further away than where you began....)

7 // strengths and weaknesses. and how they tie in with vulnerability and humility and shame.

8 // holding on and letting go.

//photo taken by miss holga, from one of our adventures


Anonymous said...

I am probably not the ideal person to ask about these topics. I have for many years been far too pessimistic about far too many things. The trouble is: I have yet to be proven wrong. Of course the argument for self-fulfilling prophesies and catastrophic expectations is quite strong in my case, but the fact remains that every time I allow myself to really get excited about something, every time I allow hope to swell in my chest, it sets a new all-time low in my intriguing life story. But enough darkness and despair; let me try to divorce my mind from my history and perspective long enough to comment on a few of these concepts. With luck, someone somewhere might just find meaning or even inspiration in my words.

To many of these I cannot respond without pointing out that we each have our currency. What is of infinite worth to me may be worthless to you, and what you value above all else is but dross to my eye. With that in mind, I go first to the second concept. What do you value? What is your currency? Some would take the risky road not because of the greater potential for reward but simply for the thrill of taking risk. Conversely, some would choose the safer path in spite of the lower return simply for the security it offers. Myself, I would first have to know the situation; for while some things are not worth much risk at all, others are worth putting everything on the line.
To the fifth concept I can agree completely. The question then is just how close to perfection must we come? How much does it matter? What is it worth to get there? This is a simple formula in business (cost of lawsuits multiplied by the estimated number of lawsuits compared to revenue from sale of product. Whichever is higher wins) but in our lives it is rarely that clear. We have difficulty putting a number to the factors to be considered.
I now have a question that takes us in a slightly different direction: Why? Why do you seek perfection? Is it for recognition? Is it for pride? Or is it so that you can hold your head high and claim that you did it? Perhaps you are receiving payment and want to be comfortable earning your wage. For some it is no more than a desire to be free from criticism. I am sure there are other motivations, and I have seen that the study and understanding of motivation is one of the most revealing of all.

I believe I have taken enough space and time.
Good evening,

apb said...

Three brief thoughts. Maybe four.

1. Why is your blog called "warm fuzzies and hand snuggleez" when there is nothing fuzzy or hand-ish about those feet in the blog header image? This is a very important question, so please don't just blow over it.

2. The fact that you ask these kinds of questions and have these kinds of thoughts is a good sign. It means you're not being stagnant. You know what grows in stagnant water? Mosquitoes. And nobody likes them.

3. Because I like science, and I'm not even sure if you get to read all these comments, I'm just going to clarify something about muscles. You don't grow new tissue, and muscles don't get bigger by duplicating or adding more. They just get bigger in size, not quantity. That blew my mind when I first learned it. Hopefully you won't be as shocked as I was. Feel free to call if you need help piecing your exploded universe back together.

4. I forgot the fourth thing I was originally going to say. But here is my fourth comment nonetheless... Ready? Eat more pizza. You'll be happier. Probably.

The end.

Jenny said...

Apparently my thoughts were too many characters, so you can now find them in your email inbox instead :) The limit is apparently 4,096 characters. I don't think I've written more than that in awhile, so you've done me some good to get me thinking on these very ponderous topics. Thank you!

Spencer Hawkes said...

I've heard that that the most common deathbed regret is not living life true to yourself and instead doing/being what others wanted you to be. That doesn't sound like a good place to be. Maybe risk taking is just the willingness to take opportunities that come your way. Take them, especially if you are young, excited, wandering, etc. I personally think living an interesting life is more important than becoming what other people want you to be.

keviN said...

1 // just watched a new Bruce Lee documentary called "I AM BRUCE LEE." who we are is always changing... so the best i can do is to honestly just try to BE.

2 // choices, choices, choices..... meh. still gotta react to 'em once they're made.

3 // learn more kung fu.

4 // hope is real. reality is hopeful. so that mean they're the samething, so what am i honestly doing about it?

5 // flowing water - eventually gets perfect. gotta keep moving, and moving on.

6 // push vs rest... breaking = lack of rest or trying to see how far i can push. there's time for all of that.

7 // learn more kung fu.

8 // learn more kung fu.

James said...

I think that in reality all of these are balanced by the prophets and living their council.

-Find Joy in the journey-

A lot of these struggles can be solved by living the journey and not living for the end of it.

We have goals that are attainable but the journey to achieve them helps us way more that just having the goal accomplished.

As we grow and strive for perfection and fail that is what makes it a growing experience.

Anonymous said...

So As with many big life questions... For many of these that you've posed, there's a kind of dichotomy, or maybe two ends of a spectrum, or two opposing tools. And the big question I often ask is, which one is better? >.<

In my experience (for what it is worth) I've needed to rephrase it to, 'When should I apply this tool, and when should I instead apply the other tool?'

Then I break it down more and realize, sometimes, a 'should' is silly, since it simplifies it to a right/wrong... or 'best'/'not best'. So I'll ask instead 'What consequences will applying this tool bring, and what consequences will the other tool bring? And which ones do I favor?'

Then I remember that in trying to come up with might hopefully be a big life solution, I always have to tweak it for my current situation. : ) That big epiphany I had last year may not apply to my current situation; My strengths and weaknesses have changed some, and whatever latent factors there were which caused it to be a good idea then are not necessarily still present. I've learned and changed, yay, time to adapt.

... So that's all a really hand-wavey way of saying, 'it depends.' X)

I DO, however, thing that we as a society TEND to lean a little too far towards one side of the spectrum, in the sense that we are cutting ourselves short from what we really do want or hope for.

People probably, generally, lean a little too much towards stability.

People are probably, generally, a little too self-protected.

In LDS culture people are maybe, generally, a little too perfectionistic and self-critical.

Maybe a little afraid to be imperfect and make mistakes.


On 7 - Some people's happy ground is at a different point on the spectrum. Some people are totally happy and productive being stable and self-protected! That might destroy other people. So much case-to-case. D: Hard to summarize it much when it depends on so many factors (which factors we may or may not ever understand!)


If anyone has read this, thank you for taking my ramble as it is.

- Nathaniel

Adam Johnson said...

I'll take 3 and 7, since all the others are things I wonder about, too, and your guess is as good as mine :)

Matthew 10:16
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

So much contention comes from people feeling vulnerable and getting defensive. Maybe I misunderstood your semantics, but it seems to me that there is no difference between vulnerability and self-protection. People are afraid of having people "walk all over them" (a phrase I never understood), but for me if the only thing being injured is my pride than I should turn the other cheek. But if they are getting in the way of something that needs to be done, then I try to confront them in a Christ-like way that doesn't simply counterattack. I was probably way off the mark on what you meant by that one, but there's my three cents.

As you probably already know, Mosiah 2: 20-25; Moses 1:10; and Ether 12:27 are really good readings on this subject. I am also a huge fan of C. S. Lewis so here is some excerpts:

On Pride:
“I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, "How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?" The point is that each person's pride is in competition with every one else's pride.”

On our weakness before God:
“We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means—the only complete realist. Very well, then. The main thing we learn from a serious attempt to practise the Christian virtues is that we fail. If there was any idea that God had set us a sort of exam, and that we might get good marks by deserving them, that has to be wiped out. If there was any idea of a sort of bargain—any idea that we could perform our side of the contract and thus put God in our debts so that it was up to Him, in mere justice, to perform His side—that has to be wiped out...

“Then comes another discovery. Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. So that when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like:

It is like a small child going to its father and saying, "Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present." Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child's present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction. When a man has made these two discoveries God can really get to work. It is after this that real life begins.”

We are nothing but God can make us something. If you find that this is only intellectual and not emotional knowledge (as I do time and time again), do what Lewis says and keep trying to be perfect and failing.

Sorry about the preach I think I'm getting home teaching withdrawal :P

Al Deans said...

(this was from Marcy 9, recorded on facebook)

Today I am in Portland. I am working doing what I love to do. I am in my element but yet in a place where I am being pushed past the limits of my knowledge.. yet those limits now stretch. I am making new limits.. because there really are no limits. I place those limits myself. I now take those limits off. In living in the here and now, you learn who you are, instead of who you would like to be or who you think you are or have been. You are who you are, and if you really want to know anything about who you are, just imagine yourself as someone better than who you thought you were and be that imagined, self improved person. Be. Because there is nothing else. Shape.. do. Work harder. Its late and my eyes won't stay opened. Good night.

PS.. I saw a guy today that had just been thrown from his bike, probably after being pummeled by a car, and his head was dribbling on the pavement. He was still conscious and he was literally a minute away from the hospital in Portland with 5 off duty doctors helping him, but it was so surreal. I had ridden my bike on that road literally dozens of times.. it could've been me, but it wasn't. I am thankful of this.