Photo: Part of the Yellowstone River as it winds its way through Hayden Valley.
Photo: Part of the Yellowstone River as it winds its way through Hayden Valley.
Disclaimer: Beware – today I dive into a more technical piece of work versus my more poetic stuff 🙂
I always love it when new terms of art are coined. The coupling of words and formation of short phrases to describe something, a concept, possibly already known or possibly a new formulation. It seems to be the perpetual motion of researchers, politicians, and wordsmiths alike, to boil a concept down into a few short syllables to describe something of monumental proportions.
Well once the label or buzzword or soundbite is created, no one has any need to reference the material supporting it, or even read and digest it for that matter. It sort of becomes a “given.” It is a self-explanatory definition that generally becomes universally accepted.
It is the same philosophy journalists use when they try to tell the whole story in just the headline. Reading the story becomes superfluous, and with lowering attention spans many readers don’t make it past those headlines.
You might even compare this practice to that of our ancient ancestors drawing pictograms and petroglyphs on cave walls. Reducing an idea to its most elementary form in an attempt to communicate.
Actually, I think images may even be more powerful than words in the sense that they convey detail that encompasses all of the senses that can cross language barriers. Some days, I would prefer petroglyphs to the written and spoken language 😊
But, should simple or even complex phraseology be given such deference?
I’m not sure. Such practices have the potential to oversimplify. And in the case of journalists, many times their stories don’t match their headlines – not even close.
So where am I going with this? Well, I stumbled upon a new term this week involving our aging brains. “Neurocognitive Scaffolding.”
Living the in the mundane is definitely a death sentence.
Photo: Hiking in the mountains in the borderlands.
It’s been said that in order to write, one must read. And I get it. Not only do you learn how to compose by seeing other styles of writing and how words flow together, but you get ideas. And there are lots of ideas floating about out there.
Lately I’ve read some interesting blogs pointing out just how insignificant we, as humans, are. And I’ve read others about just how meaningful life is. I guess opposites attract 😊
Frankly, I’m torn, because these thought experiments bring me back to another interrelated concept and that is “purpose.”
Just what purpose are we supposed to fulfill? Or, stated another way, why are we here?
I was out of breath as I reached the top of the bluff. But it was worth the hike. I now had a falcon’s-eye view out over the South Fork of the Snake River. Absolutely beautiful.
The sprawling flood plain to the East was fully plowed and planted. Potatoes, wheat, and alfalfa. And maybe a few specialty crops lay low in the distance. Broccoli, cauliflower, rhubarb, and cabbage. Casting different hues of green. Forest green to fern, to mantis, to dark pastel, to castelton.
The wind picked up as I hit the fourth mile mark. The warm breeze wrapped around my face and lifted upward and to the East.
It had been a cool fifty degrees when I started my trek an hour and a half earlier, but once the sun crested thirty degrees above the horizon the temperature had been in a steady climb and was fueling the wind gusts that reminded you that the invisible vapor we breath is a powerful force. One not to misjudge. It is tornado season after all.
A number of days past, I made a post titled Wildflowers where I pondered the evolutionary adaptations of plants. How their beauty, shape, and the perfume of their flowers attract certain pollinators to ensure the propagation of their species.
Naturally, I simply enjoy their beauty, regardless of how it came to be. 😊
Then yesterday, I stumbled upon an article discussing the theories of “adaptive adornment” versus “arbitrary beauty.”* And I must admit, those terms are much more scientific and deliberately descriptive than my own ponderings.
It seems that Darwin had a second theory apart from natural selection – sexual selection.
Yesterday, my post was about the need to get back out into Nature to promote both our physical and mental health. What constituted the path to true happiness. The outward journey to inner healing.
So I felt the need to balance that today with this quote about the inward journey. This is the toughest journey of all. And it’s something we often try to avoid. It can be a scary trek, but it’s also the most rewarding. Making contact with our spiritual selves. Without all of the distractions from the external world.
The quote is spot on. Sometimes people lose themselves. They become automatons. Traversing the same trails every day. Speaking in clichés. Allowing platitudes to fill the mind. Avoiding self-examination.
A little time spent in quiet meditation every day is a step to getting back in touch with our real selves. Unplug from the technological world. Disconnect from the external illusion and find your authentic soul.
Photo: I chose this pic because this isolated cabin in the Ozark mountains is a good analogy to our inner selves. Yes, in the material world it’s an external physical structure, but it can symbolically serve to represent our inner consciousness. Our soul. Our particle of awareness. Our gift from the Source.
It is surrounded by a vast external world of distraction and illusion where we often flee.
Come home and relax for a spell. Sit by the fireplace. Reconnect with your spiritual self. Expand your consciousness.
I actually stayed in this little cabin a few years back. It was a great place to get back to Nature. Away from the frenetic pace of modernity. And away from our self-generated hubris. Not only a place to heal in the outdoors, but a place to make that inward journey in peace and solitude.
I’ve been doing a lot of stumbling lately.
I really like that word. Its main definition is about walking in an unsteady manner, being clumsy, to almost fall, or to make an error. Blunder. But I like the other definition, that of unexpectantly coming upon something – like truth.
Now that’s no error. That’s magic.
I like this quote because it truly cuts to the heart of it. We can not find happiness in the external world, or through ownership of material possessions. True happiness is an internal state of mind and the mind can’t find its way there if it is living in the past, or focused on the future, or by thinking that something or someone else outside ourselves will somehow deliver it to us. In a pretty package with a bow on top.
It can only be found in the moment with love and through grace in actually living.
I must say for me, travel, being in motion, taking in the real world around me with all of my senses, helps me to live in that moment of spiritual experience. Just like the moment of this sunset 🙂
“I guess it comes down to a simple choice really, get busy living or get busy dying.”
– Andy talking with Red in The Shawshank Redemption.
I’ve always loved this quote. It seems simple enough, but there’s a lot to it. Some people say we are in the process of dying from the moment we are born. That’s an organic process. Can’t change it. Can’t stop it. But we can change what we’re doing when we’re alive. While we’re still breathing.
I know there are times where the words just don’t seem to flow, but is that really “writer’s block?” I mean maybe I just don’t feel like writing something today. Maybe I have other things to do. Or maybe I’m a bit burnt.
Sometimes writing something, a story from the past or a poem about a relationship, is just like a sucker punch to the gut. It knocks the wind right out of me, and I really need some recovery time. Some mindless activity to let a new scab form over that old wound.
Some wounds take a while to heal. Some never seem to heal. Such is life.
In fact, some wounds I don’t want to heal. Never.
Now that might sound weird, but stop and think about it for a minute. Or two. Or three, maybe. However long you need. It may only be a blink of an eye for some of you.
There was a point I hit when I was a nurse where I had seen so much trauma that I really feared that I would no longer be able to cry. Seriously. Is there a limit on tears? Are we only given the capacity to have so many? Only allowed to cry one river of tears? If so, my tears were all used up.
But I experienced another tragedy shortly after that fear hit me that left me crying for a full day. And while the events of that tragedy were awful, I’m glad I experienced it. And I hold onto it. And I cry every time I think about it. And it happened over 25 years ago.
I’m just glad that I didn’t lose the human connection. My ability to empathize. My ability to feel emotion. To feel pain.
I think it’s essential to life itself.
If you lose this ability, you’re no longer human. You would no longer even be animal. You would be a machine. Processing mechanical inputs and spitting out mechanical outputs.
To feel is to heal. To feel is to love. To feel is to live.
To feel for another’s suffering demonstrates that interconnection we have with everything in all life. To actually feel the same feelings that another entity is experiencing, well, that’s a true connection of spirit.
It’s illuminating. It’s invaluable. It’s enlightenment in a raw form.
Photo: A portion of a dandelion’s head – its seeds covered in the morning dew. Imagine each drop of water to be a separate story. A story of life. All such stories are intertwined 🙂