Sunday, January 29, 2017

Obstacle/Opportunity

I just started reading a book called, "The Obstacle Is the Way." I was intrigued by the title when I first saw it, and finally made it through the library waiting list to my turn to read it. So far, I am really enjoying it. It's based on a quote from Marcus Aurelius and explores some of the Stoic thinking in dealing with the obstacles of life. I'm not really familiar with the Stoics, but I'm intrigued by what is in the book. Still, it's not a book about Stoicism. It's a book that looks at systematic ways of viewing and addressing obstacles that makes them opportunities.

Think of a boulder in a path. There's no way around, so if you have to get to the other side, the obstacle is the only way that you're going to get there. However, if you have to climb over a boulder, you may have to learn new ways to move to get over it, you may have to build strength to be able to get over it. You may have to think differently about ways to help yourself over it. All of those things make you stronger and more ready to deal with more things in life.  I just love the whole idea of all of this! A quote from the book, "Obstacles are not only to be expected, but embraced."

From a Christian perspective, we may see it as a cross, but again, each cross has something in it to lead us to where we are going. The strength that we develop in carrying it, in embracing it and living it can be the very things that we need at some point in life.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bits and Pieces

Three weeks in; how's your 2017 going? This post would be a perfect "7 Quick Takes" sort of a post, but I'm not about to be organized enough for that. So instead, a random number of brief thoughts on a random day.

1) I did not attend any marches this weekend (unless you count snowshoeing, but that's apolitical). I did feel rather torn about it, though. On the one hand, I strongly disagree with certain held beliefs and ways of demonstrating them that were talked about so much. On the other hand, there are definitely things that I feel strongly about that need to be kept in mind. I am so grateful for those women that went and stood up for the good, while vocally stating their pro-life beliefs. Tough position to be in when there are those that don't want you there because you disagree with them, and others that think you shouldn't be there because some think differently than we do. I'm being too vague and general, but I love this post about it.

2) I don't think I ever said on here, but my holidays were fantastic. Simple and enjoyable. Lots of cooking, relaxing, and being outside. What more can you want? Okay, obviously there's a lot more I want, but given my current situation, it was everything you could ask for.

3) My spending fast is honestly not going too terribly well. I've been hungry! Then I eat what I planned for later in the week, and then I have to go to the grocery store. I'm trying to plan better, but it's hard sometimes, because I never know exactly how much food I'll need.

4) That's okay, though. One of the things that I was thinking of a lot in the last few weeks is that I didn't fail enough in 2016. Sometimes you can only move forward from trying and learning things both about what does work and what doesn't work. I'm seeing some areas that aren't working great for me, I'm going to try to adjust some things this week, hopefully do a little better. Then I'll try again in February! There are a couple of other things that I am working on as well. When it feels like it might not be perfect or successful in the way I would like, I'm just reminding myself that it's an opportunity to fail, which is a good thing, because it means that I'm trying.

5) I'm also trying to focus more on doing one thing at a time. Multi-tasking has never worked well for me (or anyone, really). It really is amazing how much less stressful it is and how much more I get done. I've had a few days that just seemed to have SO much going on, and I despaired of getting it done. But, one thing at a time, I was able to knock a lot of it out.

6) I love taking time to enjoy the simple things in life. I don't think I posted anything about here, but I recently read a book called "Suffocation". Interesting read, and I sort of agreed with some of what he said, but had some problems with his conclusions. Not that he was wrong, but that it would help us out of the morass we're in. Materialism is falling more and more out of style, and his thought is that experientialism is taking over. I think he may be right, and there is good in that, but one of the experiences that he talked about was a marketing launch that involved bizarre foods (like pig's ear soup) and an even more bizarre movie that was made with a lot of LS.D influence. Sure, that may be where we're heading, but those kinds of experiences will not give us any more lasting satisfaction than stuff does. It's about learning to savor the simple things in life.

7) Speaking of the simple things, this weekend I spend a lot of time re-watching Sherlock. So well done in so many ways that I can't say enough good things about it! Not that I have to, pretty sure you're all pretty well acquainted. I haven't gotten to Series 4 yet, but I will start it soon.