What I learned in Chapter 2013


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Well friends, the new year is upon us, and considering it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, I think that now is a good time for me to share some of my reflections on this past year– a year that will soon be just another conglomerate of memories, a past-read chapter to reminisce upon, in each of our individual books of life.

I have gone through many changes this past year. In just one year I: worked my ass off during my senior year of college, graduated college, moved to a new apartment and left behind a crazy former roommate, entered the workforce, changed jobs far too many times, gained friends, lost friends, gained a best friend, got out of a long term relationship, met a ton of people that I thought would stay in my life but never did, dated a lot and then entered another serious relationship, have been estranged from family members and then reunited with them– finding both forgiveness and remorse in my heart to give; I’ve been as blue as the deepest depths of the ocean and as radiant with joy as the sunniest sky; I’ve felt lost and then I’ve felt found, only to feel lost once again, but then knowing I’d soon be found once more.

Through all that I’ve gone through this past year, like every year- I’ve learned a great deal.

Here are some of my reflections that I hope may be of some help to you:

  • Forgiveness is the pathway to peace. To forgive not only others, but also yourself, is the only way to find true rest in your heart.

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  • People will hurt you, and the pain they inflict may or may not be intentional, but you must remember that all acts of malevolence or negligence are only born out of ignorance. People inflict harm because they lack wisdom and understanding, and for that reason you should attempt to develop compassion for all human beings, especially those who cannot love, because these are the ones who are who enduring the greatest struggle with their own unruly mind and restless heart.

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  • People will most certainly come and go in your life, and only a very select few will stay for a while, and an even lesser number will stay forever. For this reason, appreciate all those who walk into your life, because they are there for a reason, but don’t attempt to cling to their presence. If there presence is needed in your life, then the universe will make it so they stay, but if it is no longer needed and each of you have your own respective paths to follow (which branch in diverging directions) then let them go and wish them abundance on their journey through life.

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  • YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE. This has been a huge theme in my own life that I’ve had to learn. Attempting to make everyone proud and pleased with your decisions is a lost cause. Everyone has their own opinion on how you and everyone else should be conducting their lives, and everyone’s opinion is different! It is tempting to try to make everyone around you believe that you are making all of the right decisions according to them, but you are forgetting a very important piece of the puzzle… you’re forgetting YOU! What makes you happy? What makes you feel the most alive? What do you want to get out of this existence before your inevitable death? These are the questions you should not only be asking, but chasing. People may not, (and surely will not) always agree with your decisions in life, but almost everyone will respect a person who follows their own heart and their own path, and someone who is true to themselves despite all outside criticism.

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  • There is light and darkness in everything: in life, in others, and most importantly, in yourself. There will be great sorrow and destruction in the world, as there always has been; there will be thoughts and feelings within yourself that you will be ashamed of, dark impulses that you fear and try your best to repress and avoid. You cannot extract the darkness from life, nor from yourself. However, you must realize that amidst the darkness, there is a greater and even more powerful light– both within life, and within yourself.  The light in life and the light in yourself is always more powerful than the darkness, and everyday you can choose the light. You can choose to grow the light in yourself  and then you can choose to spread this light into the world around you through your actions and your treatment of others, so that you can do your part in dispelling the darkness of the world.

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  • Judgement causes pain: pain for others, and pain for yourself. Some judgement is natural, but when it causes you or others strife, you must step back to see if it is not yourself or others who are the problem, but rather your close-mindedness that is the problem. As it relates to my prior point, there will be dark and light impulses in both yourself and in others. However, the darkness in ourselves and others is never dispelled by greater darkness, which comes with judgement and harshness. Darkness is dispelled by the light that you can give with your own loving-kindess, understanding and compassion. Seek to love and understand yourself and seek to love and understand others, even if you feel neither yourself nor others deserve such a courtesy.

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  • Life is much greater than you, and to remember this may allow for an objective peace. We are all brief and momentary waves on a vast, endless ocean. For a brief moment in time, we arise, are formed as crests from the boundless, watery pool of life, and then, when it is our time, we again are dissolved back in to the greater ocean, becoming one again with the body of life. We are all individuations of the same thing– the same ocean: we are all one. Honor that sameness that is of all things and beings, and seek to honor the greater power of the ocean, the power which is beyond our comprehension and which is a mystery who gives all things their brief hour to be individuations of itself.

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  • Give it one more day: There is a beautiful song by The Wood Brothers (which I highly recommend that you give a listen to) called “Give it one more day,” and the lyrics have always stuck with me:

    “Well I seen you in a sadness
    I seen you when you’d hope to die
    I heard you say, well it’s raining all over the world
    What did I tell you?
    What did I say?
    Just when your faith is gone
    Give it one more day

    I seen you when your head is long
    Face down on the ground
    I heard you say, well you’re lost and you couldn’t be found
    What did I tell you?
    What did I say?
    Just when your faith is gone
    Give it one more day

    And next thing you ‘re smiling back at the sun
    Blowing right back at the wind
    Rolling right back at the ocean
    But nothing’s gonna do you in

    Give it one more day
    One more day
    Just when your faith is gone
    Give it one more day

    I seen when your soul shines
    I seen you when you heart sings
    I heard you say well the world don’t owe you a thing
    Hey and what did you tell me?
    What did you say?
    Just when your faith is gone
    Give it one more day
    Just when your faith is gone
    Give it one more day”

    ~ The song is pretty self explanatory, but I love how it highlights that the person who is being sung about has been so distraught that they’d hope to die, felt like they were so lost they could not be found, but they were told to just give it one more day. Then the same, once-distraught person totally turns around, their point of view totally shifts, their soul is shining and nothing can do them in, and this same person declares the advice they were once given by the singer in their darkest hour– to give it one more day. — So what I’ve learned, just like this song preaches, is that even when I feel so lost that I think I’ll never be found again, that if I just give it a little more time, and if we all just give ourselves a little more time, with reflection and perspective, we will find our way again.

 

I hope that you have a blessed and joyful New Year!

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