Tag Archive : family

The Great Wall may be one of the most overlooked wonders of the world. Standing on the wall- tucked away high in the mountains- the last time I felt this way I was peering down at the Grand Canyon. What surprises me most about the Wall is how falls on the peaks of mountain ranges. How hard it must have been to construct a wall extending hundreds of miles supported only by the steep slope of a mountain…

Moments that leave me in awe- they are the worth living for…As long as I remain perceptive of all the different forms of beauty and what comprises them.

20151010_131604.jpgKnowing that “we’re doing our best at any given moment”- and yet we want to do better. We want to be better, to be perfect, basically. At the same time, we are afraid of perfection- because once you achieve it for a minute, or a day, or a month, you begin holding yourself to an immaculate standard all the time.

Why not relax?

Why not praise ourselves for good choices, and forgive mistakes?

This relaxed, flexible, confident approach to progress is the only approach that leads to actual progress. The other approach leads to shame… and to more failure.

After I began cutting myself some slack- as I would others- I became happier. I began achieving my goals.

 

I’m in a car with a Taiwanese mother and daughter who do not speak English. We’re driving on roads I’ve never driven on, passing by mountains I’ve never seen. I’m eating food that, two weeks ago, I never knew existed. But these roads, these mountains, this food, is all most Taiwanese people know. It’s all they’ve ever seen, and it’s all some them will ever see.

Ninety-nine percent of the people I’ve asked tell me they’ve never been to the United States. Of those 99%, about half of them have never even left Taiwan. And they are happy. They are content with their familiar life-styles. Who am I to tell them they are “missing out” if they don’t visit the U.S.? What exactly are they lacking, if they are happy? Awareness? Maybe, but most of them do not even have the means to be aware. And by that I mean money. They are poor by U.S. standards.

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A beach In Tainan, Taiwan. A new friend took this picture without my knowledge. I stared at this photo for too long. I was taken back by how different our perspectives can be, even if we are at the same place at the same time.

I gaze out the window and I smile to myself, knowing that there are so many sources of happiness in this world, and that pure amazement is one of them. I stare out the window and I feel warm and appreciative of simple things-like the fact that I’m in a car with this mother and her daughter, who is a student in my classroom. And the fact that they are simply there, offering me awareness of another life’s course.

Frequently my surroundings stimulate a powerful realization, one that is becoming more and more apparent to me the longer I’m here: there are very few customs that can be universally defined as “good.” You can argue which customs make you happy- but they won’t please everyone. You can argue that a certain way of living is ethically good. But there will always be someone who disagrees with you. What I think I know is good and just- I will be re-evaluating, exploring, doubting for the rest of my life ( hopefully). I want to doubt. I want to reconsider. I want to welcome criticism and I want to know better so that I might be able to do better.

Kindness is everywhere, and its production is not dictated by whether you graduate high school, whether you’re homeless, whether you’re on drugs, whether you’re educated ( Sometimes. Education tends to inculcate acceptance, tolerance, perspective and therefore limits mistreatment of others with opposing beliefs/ways of living). Beyond this though, achieving a masters degree, wearing a suit every day–this life produces kindness equivalent with that of a stay-at-home mom who never graduates high school.

I’m affected by both lives in the same way, to the same extent, by both of these people whose lives have zero similarities. What do you say to that? What does this mean?
On the train to Portland, OR I sat next to a woman with so much energy that I knew she suffered without it. I’ve laughed that laugh before. She told her story. Another story. Another perspective. She was insightful, polite, and modest. Returning from a court hearing in an effort to retrieve her two daughters, to win custody over them. Her husband is abusive (she says). Physically, emotionally abusive. Has hit her, cussed her out. Her church actually banished her for divorcing him.

We talked a lot about addictions, morals, family, love, loving yourself, jealousy, worthiness. More specifically, sibling jealousy and how it relates to birth order. I confessed my discomfort of the unspoken distribution of love in my family. And when it is spoken of, I’m accused of being loved the most and being handed everything. She told me to stop punishing myself and stop feeling guilty for being loved by so many people who give me opportunities. Appreciate it…move on. No guilt. Continue to re-emit and reflect the love I receive. I need to believe that I deserve it.

She was kind. She is kind no matter what God or Gods she believes in. I hope she got her kids.