The Invisible Line

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Catch me on a Monday morning stuck in South Florida traffic, running late to work, having to pass on the venti plain pike, dodging cars, looking down and realizing the stain on my shirt didn’t come off after washing.  “I’m late… what is the boss going to say?… stop, your mind is racing” I tell myself-  Catch me in a state of battling my own mind and you’d probably label this process as unstable. If at this point you were able to dissect my thoughts and feelings within a ten minute frame, you’d discover irrational, random, illogical, self-defeating, catastrophizing, and possibly nihilistic content.  You’d probably change your perception on the kind of person I am if we were well acquainted.  However, you’d also acknowledge that every person experiences between 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day.  You’d probably reflect at your own thought patterns throughout a 24 hour period and come away with saying “I’ve had days like that.”  The reality is our minds produce a plethora of thoughts given each presenting situation.  Most of us are fortunate enough to be able to filter, choose, or ignore such thoughts-unfortunately, there are some who are incapable of doing so.  

If we explored the thoughts of any stable, mentally sound individual, you would find a vast area of uncertainty, anxiety, fears, resentments, selfishness, regret, secrets, desires, etc.  What distinguishes this person from the “psychotic” is a well functioning mechanism of containing, filtering, choosing, interpreting, discarding, and applying such thoughts.  The “schizophrenic” wears his thoughts and feelings on the outside, while the majority of us conceal and process them internally.  Nonetheless, the thought content of fears, dreams, desires, love, anger, etc is identical.  If you ever took the time to know someone that experiences auditory or visual hallucinations, you’ll discover the content has significant meaning.  Whether it seems bizarre or incoherent, if we examine our own thoughts we’ll find a common thread-that we all deal with fears whether real or imagined, we all dream, and we all seek to love and be loved in return.  The person who bears the challenges of being unable to contain and filter their thoughts within deserve our utmost gratitude. There is something magnificent, a life saving quality of being able to hear a familiar language uttered in a dark and foreign land. Similarly, it’s relieving to listen to an unfiltered emotion- a thought freed from the constraints of what is “right” or “appropriate” in the midst of challenges.  It’s in the process of crossing over to understand those society disregards- it’s through the voices and visions of a unique mind that we are able to reflect, relate to others, and manage our own inner world.  

The Ills That Save

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How can the greatest ills of humanity serve any good purpose?  The question can only be answered once the defect has been identified and we commence the journey to remedy it.  Those suffering from chronic mental health problems or addictions who have undergone a process of recovery have accomplished the unimaginable.  They have defied the laws of a self destructive nature and have catapulted themselves to state of unprecedented usefulness founded on a basis of knowledge of self and the divine.  I will continue to say of this wondrous matter:  “There is no greater miracle than this!”

Beauty of the Beard

2FC5968E-4C29-44F7-8785-800B9CFDD618“What’s with the beard?, she asks as the last drops of coffee spill into the forestry of salt and peppered chin hairs.  I should have known the question was coming as it happens to be as of recently she turns her gaze from my eyes to the puzzlingly scouting of untamed facial hair.  I sip air, hoping the quieted seconds will quell her curiosity and she’d derail her questions to colorful topics like politics or conversion or counseling in prison.  But I’m stuck and break the silence with “ideals.”  I realize I’ve already gone too far, recognizing I have missed the exits of ‘early Movember’ or ‘fashion statement.’  And then enters the anticipated dread of un-interruptions so I continue:  “The beard is a sea of ideals, a vast and seemingly infinite ocean separating who I long to be and who I am.  The strands of hair represent the endless journey, an ongoing battle to merge the contents of the mind with the desires of the heart.  My beard is a story composed of daily dialogues with the Creator- it is a panoramic museum depicting refined poets and unrestrained savages in combat.  My beard is a composition of curled letters telling tales of wandering peoples through the desert- an anatomy of a broken heart daring to mend itself.  The beard is a covenant, a promise to always recall what I’ve been through, where I stand, and where/who I want to be.”  

Shine

AD2CD71E-D566-4ABE-878A-D6721EF45C0FMan was created to shine brighter than the sun.  With a great capacity to generate power from within and illuminate the world surrounding it, man, like the sun, has been granted the ability to give light to those around him.  In turn, he is free to flourish and grow from the abundant light granted to him by those he encounters daily.   

Making Every Moment Meaningful

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Is it really possible to make meaning out of every moment?  Some people may say that their lives are characterized by a general sense of design and meaning but to say our daily occurrences and experiences are filled with purpose may seem like a spiritual ideal-an inspirational quote at best.  If life contains order and perfect design, why are our daily routines lacking purpose?  The problem lies in distorted roles.  We have become infatuated with our stance on receiving and have neglected the natural life sustaining approach of bestowal.  At every turn of our waking hours we are bombarded by someone or something attempting to sell us a product that will provide gratification.  As a result, this has increasingly become our default mode in which our innate drive to give and love altruistically has withered under the illusion of ‘receiving equals fulfillment.’  The obsession to have is a subtle addiction producing apathy and indifference towards others.  Many times than not, the cause of depression and anxiety stems from an existential crisis where purpose is lacking and the individual finds no meaning.  Once the distorted belief that attaining ‘things’ is broken (switching mindset from receiving to giving) and the individual begins living a life of service in which love, elevation, and healing is bestowed on to others, the meaning of one’s purpose is drastically enhanced.  

Heroes

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The reality of heroism is an unpalatable truth. The stories we’ve heard of the triumphant, smiling rescuer who stands unblemished on top of a mountain at the end of a smooth day of saving lives, are obviously fabricated fables. Instead, the truth of heroism carries with it a heavy burden; a man must himself be as, if not more afflicted, more bloodied than the lives he seeks out to save. Authentic heroes are rare in this era. They suffer greatly, more often times from failure than the physical wounds acquired from attempting to change the world. Find an “average man” worn down in distress and I say you’re closer to real heroism than you ever would be amongst the most popular.

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