Monday, January 16, 2017

Live Life from an Open-Hearted Space

Happy Martin Luther King Day Monday, y'all! It's been a while since I've posted a purely Music Monday post. Today's song is an old favorite of mine by The Shins, "Simple Song".

My favorite line pretty much sums up why I love the song:

I think that last word is technically "home", but let's just roll with the hope theme. 

I've been thinking lately about authenticity. Interestingly enough, it was the topic of a Bible study just last week when it was on my mind. I pondered what it meant to me for me to live from an authentic head-space the majority of the time. And, I discovered that oftentimes that means taking a nuanced approach to circumstances and decisions that might not seem like the logical choice to outsiders looking in. 

Authenticity made me think about being open-hearted. I quickly Googled an official definition for this, and describes openheartedness as 'showing or being motivated by sympathy and understanding and being freely communicative'. I love this definition. It reminds me that when we do approach seemingly difficult decisions in our lives, we should lead first with a heart of understanding for those involved and for ourselves. 

Which brings me to the song lyrics. We literally need one another to make it through. I can't tell you how much just in the last couple of days I've texted my best friends for advice and encouragement and daily ridiculousness. We really don't have to go it alone. 

Similarly, I like the idea that hope is something critical, an essential component to getting along in this life. With openheartedness, the hope is that we can be true to ourselves and others in a liberating way. 

I like to think that the legacy of MLK and others like him reinforce this concept of openheartedness. Striving first to come from a space of sympathy and understanding before discrimination. So, in the spirit of his legacy on this day, and in the spirit of openheartedness, I encourage you all to liberally be your truest self in this life! Stay golden, my friends. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Continuous Contentment

Well, happy new year to you all!

The new year is such an inspirational time period. I know there are statistics about how people don't maintain their resolutions and whatnot, but the mere making of resolutions is exciting enough to me. I love seeing everyone's new year's eve epic snapshots accompanied by a suitable caption for starting fresh in the new year.

It's funny because usually not much drastically changes in your life from December 31st to January 1st. Change happens over time. But a change in perspective happens in an instant.

I think that's what I experienced yesterday. It was a combination of good talks (and texting conversations) with some good friends, the sermon I heard Sunday morning, and self-reflection contemplating it all. My perspective towards moving into the new year shifted towards contentment. Before progressing in my other goals, my first step is to be content where I am.

The thing that I realized is this: I will likely continue to evolve and accordingly resolve to do certain things throughout the year (and, let's be real, throughout my lifetime). Therefore, I should not think that happiness/success/peace/etc awaits me in the future. I have to understand how those elements exist within my life even now, in the present moment. There's this quote by Lao Tzu that I have always loved and it certainly rings true for me still today:

"Always we hope someone else has the answer, some other place will be better, some other time it will all turn out. This is it; no one else has the answer, no other place will be better, and it has already turned out. At the center of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. There is no need to run outside for better seeing. Nor to peer from a window. Rather abide at the center of your being; for the more you leave it, the less you learn. Search your heart and see the way to do is to be." 

Is that not just the most refreshing insight on living life? I just love it. Maybe more now than when I first stumbled upon it about 6 years ago in college.

The first couple of lines is what really resonates with me now. This is it. Everything is already as it should be in the present moment.

So, that being said, I gazed out from my balcony, and truly appreciated the view this morning. Lubbock is by no means a vacation get-a-way, but then again, isn't that just a state of mind?

Just look at the expansion of the sky, the calmness of the water, the stillness of the barren trees. This view from my balcony is not a common awe-inspiring snapshot of nature's beauty, but it's actually not far from it when you think about it. It's all about perspective. Keeping life's little wonders in perspective keeps me content.

Lastly, in the spirit of Music Monday, I'd like to share Jack Johnson's "Banana Pancakes". That one line says it all: "we got everything we need right here and everything we need is enough".

Stay golden, my friends!