Friday, January 05, 2007

Reflecting on 2006

The past year has been a year of learning, a time of extremes and a time of turning my shrewd, critical eye back on myself. I have had to slash and burn a lot of excess out of my life in order to set myself back into a state of receptiveness and growth... much in the same fashion that one has to prune the appropriate parts off of an apple tree if it is to bear more fruit in the future.

What I have learned:

  • Bad things will happen to good people regardless. Common sense and careful planning will minimize them, but won't completely eliminate the possibility of them happening. So keep them in the back of your head, but don't let the potential for said bad things rule you and steer your life. One can't simultaneously have true happiness while living in a personal ice fortress that was built to keep the bad people out.
  • The world does not revolve around me. There are causes, ideologies, and forms of spirituality which are far bigger than myself and they deserve far more attention.
  • I have technically now been reclassified as a liberal democrat/libertarian/communist instead of a centrist because anyone who disagrees with the Bush administration's ideologies often gets labeled as a disloyal, namby-pamby pinko commie faggot (or so I've learned from catching occasional doses of venom from folks such as Rush Limbaugh & Anne Coulter on their radio shows).
  • Don't take life quite so seriously. All work and no play makes Nonsequitur a dull boy. While it's important to maintain a good work ethic and be mindful of the fashion in which one lives and presents themself... there is also laughter, love and music to be had.
  • Love thy neighbor... try to see things from their perspective and strive to find the common Good in them. It isn't always easy, but it is one of the most essential practices for being in connection with the Divine.
  • Trite but true: Don't sweat the small stuff. If it won't matter tomorrow, next month, or 5 years down the road, what does it matter now?
  • Emotions can't be left unchecked. Yeah, they're there for a reason, but they don't serve you well when your hand is always on the trigger. It has been especially hard for me to learn to reign them in... I come from a family of reactionaries. I am now constantly reminding myself to examine my first impulse long and hard before acting on it.
  • Walk away from problems which are eating up loads of your energy, but not producing any results. I was raised on the idea that hard work and an iron will can accomplish anything... not true. If anything, setting down an issue for a while or walking away from it can give you time to reflect and maybe revisit it later with a different set of tools.
  • Forgive.
  • Openly admitting your faults takes away most of your adversaries' ammunition.
  • Cheap dish detergent isn't worth it, you end up having to use three times as much.
  • The bumper sticker saying is true: "It is important to speak your mind, even if your voice quivers."
  • Stainless hoop earrings are very tempting toys for parrots, but hazardous to the people that they are attached to if within range of parrots.
  • For Heaven's sake, I really need to get into the habit of leaving my car keys in the same location consistently!

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