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To Fulfill our Humanness

There are many things I wish to say, but I’m not quite sure how to express, to begin, or to articulate it in a coherent manner. The theme though is that of love as represented in the recent exquisitely tragic movies (both which were originally classic books) of Anna Karenina and the Great Gatsby.

What is it about tragic romances that capture our hearts… our souls? Is it because it so closely mirrors that of are own lives? The tragedy that is all around us and the happiness that always evades us?

Ironically we associate love with happiness… goodness… the apex of life… but all that it seems to bring is heartache, tears, and what may feel like the ruin of our hearts. But yet somehow… it is so hard to give up that dream so we grasp for anything that resembles it.

Love is intangible, but yet we reach towards the heavens, trying to defy gravity, ignoring the truth about how high we are and how far we have to go when we fall, trying to grasp the ungraspable with all that is within us. It is only when we fully cling on to that higher branch of the tree (that oddly feels tangible for something that should be intangible) so that it is the only thing that supports us that we realize it isn’t a branch at all, but a snake in disguise… making us fall until we catch ourselves or hit rock bottom….

In Anna Karenina, the love that fueled Anna and Alexis was that of carnal passion. There was an indescribable pull that brought these two people together… but was it “love” in the everlasting sense? If Anna hadn’t married her husband, and she met Alexis… would they have had a marriage that lasted? Their love not only destroyed their lives, but it destroyed their families and all those associated with them… but yet throughout the story you are hoping.. praying… that they would have been able to save their love.. their lives… each other. Why would we root for a couple whose love was nothing but destruction… surely within it there must have been hope… hope that it could have been true.

But then we get to the problem of “hope” in the Great Gatsby. Gatsby believed in nothing but his love for Daisy. It didn’t matter that the past was receding and he couldn’t grasp it, he still hoped with everything in him to rekindle the love they shared in the past. He hoped for love and his dream. And yet with that hope… it only ended in death… His love so pure… was not something that could lead to life… for his love lived in the past and could not thrive in the present.

So if carnal passion nor hope and belief in love can let love thrive… can it truly thrive? How are we to grasp the ungraspable? How are we to reach to the top of the tree without falling to our death? How are we to to see to the success of relationships that may only lead to destruction?

The answer I found was also in Anna Karenina, in the often overlooked side story of Kitty and Levin, which is one of the most underrated romantic stories in literature. It is not a story filled with a lot of carnal passion or extreme acts to show one’s affection but… one of innocence and purity in wanting to find one person to share their life with and give them their all.

I think that is the point of Kitty and Levin’s side story… it is to show the contrast. The carnal passion filled romance of Alexis and Anna brought only destruction, sorrow, and eventual death, but the love and romantic passion of Kitty and Levin created life.

Even when Levin thought all hope was lost and that Kitty did not love him… he continued on with his life. He did not fade away into the wind when his hope left him. He sought for understanding and reason. At points he may have stumbled and lost some hope, but he continued on… that is what is important… he brushed himself off and continued on walking through life… and when he was ready he was able to once again open the door… and his love, Kitty, came running to him.

At the end of the movie, he comes to understand that the whole time… he lived for love… and that is what kept him going… for the majority of time it was not for romantic love… but all the different forms that love can take: for his people, for his land, for his brother… and it is what gave him satisfaction in his life… it was not for reason that he lived… it was not for hope that he lived… it was not for carnal passion that he lived… but it was for love… in all its forms… for all of life.

In reference to romantic love though… Levin gives a small speech that made me completely love him:

An impure is not love to me. To admire another man’s wife is a pleasant thing but sensual desire indulged for its own sake is greed. And the misuse of something sacred was given to us so that we may choose the one person with whom to fulfill our humanness. Otherwise, we might as well be cattle.

He defines love as choosing “one person with whom to fulfill our humanness.”

Love is not all about that one person, or him, but it is an intangible decision to live your life out with another. Yet also love cannot be contained to one individual. That is how we fall… love must come from all aspects of life to support you if one branch breaks.

I’m not sure if I will ever find that love… I greatly hope for it… but I don’t want to limit my life by it like Gatsby… I want it to be something that adds on to my already good life… allows me to share my life and the wonders of the world I discover with someone else.

I also don’t want to be limited my life and love to only be about passion. Passion is of course important… but I have had my hand in a passion similar to Anna’s and I never want that it again… it only brought destruction.

Even though we can find redeeming qualities in both love stories… I want my love story to mirror that of Kitty and Levin…

I want to find a pure love like Kitty and Levine’s that creates only goodness and life.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Before writing this post, I was having a “woe” is me moment…

…Something has just been feeling off lately… work is wonderful and I love going to it everyday… its just during the week when I’m not working and on the weekends… I don’t know exactly what to do with myself… it seems that I’ve lost the passion for many things… because I’m not using those things to procrastinate (see previous post)… or maybe just because I lack the energy… I mean work is tiring but nothing that should be leaving me this drained… I’ve been trying to think why… I mean I know I need to eat healthier and such that would probably help… but I have been eating better than I use to and the energy still lacks… I still partly blame the meds… I don’t ever remember being this foggy prior to starting Prozac and Klonopin (and I’m so glad that I don’t take Klonopin anymore… that stuff really kicks you on your butt lol)..

..and then I realized I’m just making excuses and finding other people to blame besides myself…

… something related to this is that I feel farther from God than I normally do… at first I didn’t understand why… I was doing all the things I normally do when it comes to my relationship with God… except I remembered how close I was with Him when I was going through all my trials this year… why am I still not that close?

Why is it that any romantic relationship I am in, I want to be actively participating and ready to work on things… but when it comes to my relationship with God, I just put it on the back burner…

God is always there for me… and I can be as clingy as I want with him (lol)… but yet… I’m not always there for Him… He put me in this amazing new job for a reason… one of those I think was so that I had free time to volunteer… I use to have such a passion for helping the less fortunate… but every time I think about starting I just keep telling myself “next week”… and thats what I keep doing with God… I keep saying that I will get closer to him “but tomorrow… I’m too tired today”… there is something very wrong with that…

Maybe my lack of energy and passion is my lack of focus… and where should my focus be? On God!

I also think I have a lot of fear holding me back… fear of not being able to handle things… fear of being unwanted… fear of not being perfect enough…

so while I was totally having this “woe” is me moment… I decided “eh… I guess I’ll just stretch my arm out and grab my daily devotional book called Jesus Calling (if you never have read it… get it now!)… and God is totally reaching out to me through this devotional passage

Trust Me and don’t be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song. Do not let fear dissipate your energy. Instead, invest your energy in trusting Me and singing My Song. The battle for control of your mind is fierce, and years of worry have made you vulnerable to the enemy. Therefore, you need to be vigilant in guarding your thoughts. Do not despise this weakness in yourself since I am using it to draw you closer to Me. Your constant need for Me creates an intimacy that is well worth all the effort. You are not alone in this struggle for your mind. My Spirit living with you is every ready to help in this striving. Ask Him to control your mind; He will bless you with Life and Peace.— then it references Isaiah 12:2 and Romans 8:6

First off, for an OCD individual WOW… “fear”, “battle for control of your mind”, “years of worry”, “fear dissipate[s] your energy”… and the OCD is something I very much despise about myself… yet I shouldn’t b/c I need to use it to keep myself close with God… this reminds me of what I learned in the book Can christianity cure Obsessive Compulsive Disorder… So many famous Christians are believed to have had it including Martin Luther and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux… I need to read it again (it was the first OCD book I read when I was diagnosed)… but much of what the author wrote about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux mirrored much of my struggles with OCD… but from what the book said her devotion to God grew and grew even as her OCD became more and more severe…

Now that my OCD is mild to practically not present that should not mean that I don’t need to draw towards God… in fact the opposite is true.. outside of OCD (for it is not something that I should define myself by… yes I lived with it for most of my life and didn’t know what it was until 2 years ago… but I am not my OCD)… I still NEED God… I have a constant need for Him… And I need to recognize it and DO something about it… maybe my lack of energy has been because I’m not doing as God has intended for me to do… I seemed to have lost my passion for God and with that went my passion for life… because after all there is no life without God… I need my passion back for my God… my God who will always love me and cherish me… who will never leave or forsake me… because His love its extravagant… and nothing in this world will ever compare to it…

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ice Cream and Undying Passion

Ask any of my friends or family members… I am obsessed with ice-cream… definitely to an unhealthy degree. lol.

The best: chocolate chip cookie- dough… but of course when life is going really badly and I need to feel better… Ben and Jerry’s Half-baked is always there for me and my sadness…and well if you have looked at my blog recently you probably can come to the conclusion that Ben and Jerry’s Half-baked and I have been BFFs. lol

Seriously… I think all occasions should call for ice-cream… whether really happy occasions or really sad…

But sometimes… ice cream and I have to go on ‘breaks’… Ice cream always knows that I love it… but sometimes all the saddness and the Ben and Jerry’s starts adding on the pounds… and well this passion of mine becomes unhealthy… right now ice cream and I are on a bit on a hiatus because of the cold… while ice cream may help my heart and fill my stomach it can take the bone chilling cold from outside and make it become an internal feeling… and we all know I hate the cold… sometimes I just get tired of ice-cream… although I LOVE it… sometimes you can have TOO MUCH of a good thing… I always return back to it though… I can never go that long from it…

So what this all boils down to though is that I am passionate about ice-cream. 🙂

Even though this passion is often unhealthy and it can often burn me out… I always find myself returning to it…

LOL… so why this long ode to ice cream? Well I believe that in order to be happy in life… one needs to be passionate about what they do… and as we all know… I’m questioning my current life path… am I passionate about it?

Academia (for me) is very unhealthy… in fact the field work for academia is what caused my OCD to become severe.. it also makes me a constant perfectionist that I don’t know how to not be that makes me constantly freaked out about work and have absolutely nothing of a social life… academia makes me feel lonely… because I don’t have many friends b/c I’m constantly trying to be a perfectionist about it… and also I don’t get enough sleep because I’m always trying to stay up to do work that I haven’t done because I just don’t have the passion or want to do it.

But maybe it is just because I am burnt out? After all I am passionate about ice cream… but I can have too much and I need to take a break… well… I’ve taken breaks… winter break… summer break… many weekends… and am I really ever craving for the semester to start again or to get to my work? Not really… I may be craving to not be bored any more… but that is kind of just like craving for food in general compared to ice-cream… I never crave to jump into research full steam ahead! or into the reading I need to do… in fact I always dread it…

but I am passionate about certain ASPECTS of my field… I love how the research that I do helps others… and that I am educating students so that they broaden their minds and see how beautiful the world really is.

so should I risk being unhappy in all other aspects of my academia just for this one portion??

You know what else I absolutely love? The Potato… I love potatoes… they are seriously the best food in the entire world… I am completely and utterly passionate about eating potatoes…

EXCEPT… I refuse to eat potato salad… I HATE potato salad… yes I love the potato… but I don’t like the mixture of it with mayonnaise, onion, pepper, egg, and celery… individually all of those are pretty good… but somehow mixed together and with potatoes… it really makes me want to vomit… therefore I am only passionate about one part of it… but all together I hate it and therefore I don’t eat it.

Can I apply this to academia? If I only like one aspect of it (and it isn’t even the main component of it like the potato is in potato salad) is it worth wanting to feel like I want to vomit all the time?

I think the answer should be no… at least that seems most logical to me…

Can’t I find other things in which that one aspect is a part of that I love more? I love various potato casseroles, MASHED POTATOES ARE AMAZING, baked potatoes are amazing, chips, and fries, soup with potato, potato pancakes, really potato in anything (EXCEPT wrapped in dough.. but that might just be because I culturally grew up eating perogies and have a mental block against them lol).

So therefore can’t I look for a different career path in which I can help people and empower them that doesn’t have to be in this field of academia?

But I’m good at making potato salad… but I still hate eating it… I’m good at academia… and I still hate being a part of it… making potato salad though for others and them enjoying it is really nice… but in this one case.. I think it is ok to be selfish… this is MY LIFE after all… if I can only cook one thing in the world for others to enjoy and for me to eat… why make potato salad just for others if I don’t want to eat it? How about finding something better that uses potatoes… and you know what?… I may not be good at making it for others at first… and they may dislike it… but I will eventually learn and get better at it… and enjoy the food I am finally making…

but can I really correlate food to career paths? But shouldn’t passion be passion? It should be all the same?

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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