Latching onto mediocrity prevents personal growth. This may pertain to simple, pragmatic manifestations (stagnating at a mediocre job), but there may be other, deeper obstructions as well (holding oneself to a merely passable work ethic).
I am torn between energy and synergy, straining at the rims of social acceptability, but finding comfort in their elasticity. I bounce back into the safety zone, plastic symbiosis. But kinesis propels me back to the edge, and one day I hope I bust out: shattering the tops of my own expectations like the elevator at the end of the original Willy Wonka movie.
Funny discovering one’s identity, like listening to your voice in a recording and realizing that you hate it and, in fact, barely recognize it. But everyone else is pretty much used to it, so there’s no sense feeling down about it.
A poet is not so much a person who writes poetry, but one who sees poetically. The rhythmic and fluxing paper reflections that result are tangible fragments of a great, glittering horizon. The poet stares out upon it and finds it fixating, exhilarating, impossible, and immense. To cope (for sanity is a fragile thing), a scrawled framework or a bad rhyme under duress will suffice, but there is never any real satisfaction in completing a poem, for a poem is inherently never complete. It is, because of what it is, a partial attempt to speak the unspeakable, to swallow the whole of a field or the magnitude of regret or the piercing depth of the human soul. Feebly, we continue the practice because what else can we do? What, if we have not learned to play the violin from the top of the Matterhorn, or sustain eye contact with a homeless person, or catch a heron by the tail and see where it lives? So we pull out the ol’ knapsack, rummage for a pen, and think feverishly, “There must be some way to write this down.”
I did a hard thing today. A good thing. A thing that at last brought redemption.
I would rather be barefoot so I can fee everything under my feet. The pain comes along with the brisk joy of grass under your toes or the sharp surprise of snow, or the poetry of sand as it gives way to sea. If I cannot bear the rocks and thorns, my feet will never be strong enough for the mountains.
I have a list of things I’d like to eat every day. When I eat them, I have very little appetite left for junk. But when I start a day out with the vague and self-sabotaging notion that I’d like to avoid eating junk, I inevitably eat more poorly than I’d intended. I’ve noticed the same is true in many areas of life: if I try to avoid doing something, I set myself up for failure. If I am busy doing something else, I barely notice that I am not doing that on which I would have otherwise fixated. I’m not the first to have noticed this phenomenon, and if I were a halfway decent blogger, I would provide lots of profound historical quotes with imbedded hyperlinks and philosophical rabbit trails and back posts. But most assuredly, I am not a halfway decent blogger. It was a friend who recently recollected this principle and put it before me plainly: it is nearly impossible to avoid doing wrong when one attempts to avoid doing wrong. It is only when one is so inundated with—enraptured by—doing right that one evades the wrong. Tonight, another friend and I discussed some practical manifestations of this principle and ultimately christened with a catchy mantra to help us keep it at the fore: “crowding out the bad.”
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” —Thoreau