Archive for June 23rd, 2008

Resisting Resistance

I have been stuck in this dream state, resisting action for these past 2 years. College is supposed to be a time when I am supposed to be doingacting toward my dream(s). I am one of the fortunate ones in that I already know what my destiny is and even how I’m going to get there. And yet, I’m not doing anything to cultivate myself in other areas, or even fully devoting myself in preparation for my career path. I feel stuck in this place in between adolescence and adulthood, at a standstill because both sides are equally pulling me in their direction. I know I am supposed to yield to the pull of adulthood, and yet, I can’t seem to cut the rope to adolescence.

I found an article that perfectly articulates these troubles and provides excellent solutions to battling them. All is not hopeless with Christ. Amen? Amen!

According to the article, Getting Unstuck: Stepping Toward Your Dreams:

Resistance is the derailing force we experience when we attempt any potentially good thing — a painting, an article, a marathon or a marriage. It strikes anyone who hopes to move to a higher plane — in relationships, spirituality, academics, creative work or business.

– Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art

That statement cannot be any more true. Whenever we try to better ourselves, we can be certain that the devil will try to deter us from accomplishing success. He is directly against any goodnesses in our favor.

According to the article, there are 5 things we can do to overcome resistance:

  1. Expect It — if you’re trying to better yourself, you had better believe that your efforts will be strongly opposed by Satan, and that such opposition will manifest itself in your thoughts and events of your daily life
  2. Face It — by facing the resistance and not running away from the thoughts of defeat that fill your mind, you come to recognize resistance when it occurs in your life and will know how to challenge it. Don’t run away, don’t fear. Stand strong and grapple the resistance in your life
  3. Claim It — Change your “want” to “are.” As you work steadfastly toward your aim, don’t continue to tell yourself that you want to be a dancer, but that you are a dancer. Revamp your vocabulary, removing those words of uncertainty to words of truth. You are on the path to becoming a journalist, You are talented. When you tell speak to yourself in this way, your commanding the statement as a reality, and will be more likely to do things toward accomplishing your aim.
  4. Seek Support — Resistance will give you its hardest hits, but linking yourself up to encouraging individuals will fortify you against its efforts. Identify professionals in your (intended) field who are willing to serve as a mentor, or form an accountability partnership with a friend so that when you feel like succumbing to defeat, they can edify you and set you right again.
  5. Take Small, Manageable Steps — Break your goals into small steps. Accomplishing a small task is less intimidating than taking on a huge project. Cutting your goal into smaller steps will increase both your motivation and likelihood to see it the whole project through to finish. when you see a small task to accomplish

That was just my synopsis of the 5 steps. If you want the entire write-up, click the link I posted above. It’s well worth a read, and not much longer than what I wrote.

I want to close with the ending quote from the article. As you read it, know that you were created by God for an important purpose. It does not matter how small or insignificant you and your dreams may seem in your mind because they are large in God’s eyes. Don’t compare yourself to another person’s destiny because in they are equal in value when achieved for the will of God. Be blessed.

“If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children, you hurt me, you hurt the planet. You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite God Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter further along its path back to God.”

– Stephen Pressfield

Marriage & Timing

It’s the summer, and as I mentioned in a previous post, summer = marriage is on my mind. Another blogger had a link to this article about the right timing for marriage: Get Married or Break Up . I agreed with some of what the article said, but then I disagreed with other things it said.

I agree that the longer a couple is dating, the more difficult it is to maintain the dating relationship. To me, the ultimate purpose of dating is to marry, so naturally, I believe, the dynamics of a relationship progress toward that ultimate goal. I do believe that at a point, two people can reach a point where they’re just acting through the motions of their dating relationship. It fizzles, if you will, and that ultimate (marriage) connection is just not there. But I just don’t agree with this timetable that they’ve set up. It adds so much pressure to dating. Like, “a year’s gone by and he hasn’t proposed. Time to hop off this boat so I can make the next sail in time.” I just can’t accept that you’re supposed to know if you want to marry someone in that short of a time! I’ve always said to myself that I would wait at least 2 or 3 years before even getting engaged. But I also feel premature in such conclusions since I still have yet to even go on a date with someone. Yes… entering my 20’s without even the experience of a date. Perhaps I just can’t relate to the mindset of the dating person. Is it possible to really know after only 6 months or a year that you want to marry someone? Since entering college, I’ve heard so many accounts from adults of how they and their spouse married after only a couple months of dating. This seems like such a foreign concept to me

Haha, right as I typed that Coldplay’s song, “Death and all His Friends” played my playlist. The line, “Let’s get married,” stuck out like a sore thumb. haha. That and “don’t worry.” Is it trying to speak to me?

By the way, the song is so beautiful. I suggest you take a listen if you haven’t heard it yet. Actually, listen to the whole album (Viva la Vida). The entire cd is fantastic.

COLDPLAY\'S NEW BEST ALBUM!

But back to my topic, maybe I have qualms about marrying quickly because of the advice I’ve received from my mom. My parent’s marriage has had it’s ups and downs… or perhaps I should flip that around. There seem to be more unhappy times than happy. She’s always advised me to pay close attention to the character of the person I date and not to write off tell-tail signs as insignificant traits. In other words, maintain a level head in love. I think this is great advice, personally. I have friends who are willing to overlook some major personality flaws just to keep the person they’re dating, which is a risky thing, in my view. But, given the importance of learning a person’s character, how on earth can a person accomplish that in 6 mos to a year’s time? That just seems way too short when you factor in the reality that people are not always their most honest self at the beginning of a relationship and take time to peel the layers to reveal the truth. Some people can’t even accomplish that after a great period of time and you end up with some surprises regardless. But still, isn’t it better to reduce the surprises as much as possible by dating longer?

Now I totally agree with the article when it talks about the increased difficulty to remain physically pure the longer a relationship continues. I have abstinent friends who have warned me on the difficulties of withstanding sexual temptation once in a relationship. So sex definitely poses as a reason to push for a fast marriage, but then… listen to what was just said? Doesn’t that imply that sex should motivate a couple’s marriage? As if they’re getting married for sex? So, I have to shoot that reason down as well. If you’re dedicated to fulfilling Christ’s mandate for physical purity in marriage, then I would hope that you and your partner would each dedicate yourself to remaining pure. Now please, don’t mistake me for some doe-eyed naive girl. I am a realist, and although I am abstinent, I realize that sexual temptation is very real and can only imagine how much more intense it is when one is involved in a relationship. I’m sure there are times when some Christian couples come darn close to going all the way, but, as a woman of faith, I know that faith can overcome one’s physical desire. Although I would hope, my Christian brothers and sisters, that you wouldn’t let yourself get so close! “Don’t start none, won’t be none,” I always say!

If you’re not a Christian, having a spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, then what I just said may not make any sense to you. You may be asking yourself, “How on earth can faith defeat my in-the-moment physical need for sex?” It can and it does for those truly devoted to abstaining from sex.

This next article, however, I agree with wholly: Get Married, Young Man. In fact, after reading it, I feel a peace about not dating now, about the whole “timing of marriage” issue, and about my concerns on when I’ll start dating and finally marry. I’ll explain more on this later. Right now, it’s time to get intimate with my pillow. SLEEP!

Why?!

That is all I can think to ask when I contemplate this image:

Do you get it? Because I don\'t

This was what greeted me when I walked into the unisex, and only, bathroom at work, and it makes absolutely no sense to me. Gents, will you please explain to me how it could be so difficult to flush the toilet? You already have the advantage of being able to stand up while you pee, bypassing the annoying everyday inconvenience of pulling down the pants or hiking up the (layered) skirt of which I am so fond. You’re relieved from struggling to 1) achieve and 2) maintain the careful balance of squatting your lower half over the toilet while keeping the material of your skirt or pants from touching the toilet bowl rim (eeeeeeww!!). Then, tack on the skill of maintaining all of the above while trying to score some toilet paper to finish the deal. I’m willing to forgive a woman if she forgets to flush now and again. But men… come on! Sexist? Sure… but true.

Today is My Day –> Saturday, June 21

I’ve had an iCal alarm set since May 19, telling me, “Today is Photograph your Day Day!!! So do it! and make an album!” but every time it’s gone off, I’ve delayed it. It first started off with “remind me in 2 hours”… then 2 hours became 1 day, and one day became 1 week. But, one month later, and rather spontaneously, I finally made time to document my day in my summer city! And it was a great day.

I slept in and then had to go into lab for a couple hours in the afternoon, but after that I had the urge to set off into the city to explore. I stopped by a vintage clothing store, 1793. I love rummaging through other people’s garbage. Total believer of the saying, “another man’s trash is another’s treasure.” It had some pretty interesting things inside. The expected 1980s fashions, outdated shoes, gaudy dresses, jackets that require a someone with a superhuman degree of confidence to dare wear it in public… or with a killer buzz. ::smile:: But you always have to rummage through the muck to uncover the true find beneath. And behold my find:

I’m really into bohemian fashions, so you can imagine my pleasure when I found this 1970s India top.

The picture really doesn\'t do it justice.

I felt like I’d stumbled upon a treasure. And only for $14.99. It crossed my mind to try to bargain it down to $10, but, what can I say… I haven’t fit into my haggling shoes on yet. But I have a feeling I’ll get there one day soon. Here’s a closer look:

The designs are so different, from the butterflies on the shoulders to the paisleys on the chest and hem to the leafed vines and yellow flowers… and yet it doesn’t clash. It all goes together so well. And it’s so light and airy and just a tad see-through. But not in a trashy way. The pictures really don’t do it justice. It looks even cuter when wearing it. Maybe I’ll post a shot when I finally do take it off the hanger. Ooo, it would be perfect for the beach!

Leaving 1793, I continued walking around for a bit and then it dawned on me! “Oh my gosh, this is my ‘Today is Photography your Day Day! Why don’t I have my camera!?'” I debated on whether to just forget it and photograph another day since I was a ways from my house, but I decided to head back after all. It was worth it because I finally had this day for myself.

After a couple hours, I headed back out into the city and found out that it was Pride Day. Walking around a festive block, someone said, “Happy Pride Day” to me, and not knowing to what they were referring, I just smiled back at them. It was actually kind of funny because I was walking through this block, noticing little things… some people were dressed a little more outlandishly than usual; lots of men with the small lap dogs; rainbow-colored Hawaiian leis… Although I must say that the tell-tail indicators were the drag queen and this man:

Then it hit me. “Ahhh! Pride Day is for gays and lesbians!” Yea, took me long enough. Hahaha. Walking throughout the city, there were so many block parties sealed off. I can only imagine how long into the night the parties lasted. I think this is my favorite shot featuring Pride Day:

The colors are so vivid, the angle is interesting, and you can see the action of the wind in the flag. Needless to say, it’s a good shot.

Walking around the city, seeing displays of so much pride, I couldn’t help but feel pressured to face the topic on which I’ve so long avoided forming a firm opinion. For a while, I tried to suppress the thoughts rising in my mind, but then, as I approached another Pride Block party, I happened to turn my head and saw this:

And a short walk from there, I saw what the next photo shows at the entryway of a different church:

I just knew that it was time that I start sorting this out for myself.

I’ve been sitting on the fence… or rather, hiding in the background while I let both sides of the gay/lesbian debate duke things out so that I don’t have to form an opinion. But really, I feel the worse for not making up my mind, and swaying with whatever crowd I’m in. It’s cowardly.

I am a Christian and believe that God’s Word is true. I believe that God views homosexuality as an abomination because he says it is so. But I also believe that I, as a Christian, am not to judge ANYONE and that a man/woman’s relationship with God is personal and his/her sins are between him/her and God. Heck, who am I to judge anyone? I’m too busy dealing with my own spiritual baggage to go looking at what someone else is doing. I feel secure in these beliefs. Where my personal struggle lies is when I consider queer culture + spirituality + politics. I have yet to resolve what the word says on advocating political limitations on the freedoms of non-Christians. I believe in free will. And God is a God of free will. So considering that, it doesn’t settle well with me to limit other’s free will if it goes against God’s mandates because at the end of the day, that violation lies with that person. But then, a part of me feels wrong in saying that. Of course in my ideal world, everyone would know Christ and choose to follow Him and His ways. And I know that as a Christian, it is my duty to affect the world for Christ. But wherein lies the boundary between affecting the world for Christ and forcing others to follow Christ? At most, we can force them into the motions of following Him, but then they’re not really following Him, are they? Exactly. This will take some more personal sorting out on my part. This is a topic that I just can’t leave untied.

After walking through the city, I prepared to meet a few friends for a viewing of the famous Waterfire. I’ve visited 3 times before and every time has been nothing short of wonderful. On my way, I was glad to be able to walk along the river before the sun set. I love getting shots before the fires are lit. And I even made a new friend:

Male? Female?

He/she came up behind me while I was snapping a shot. I was so intrigued to know the sex of this person, but didn’t have the candor to ask… Also, that would have been pretty rude, I decided. “Are you male or female, because I just can’t tell?” That would have felt offensive just leaving my lips, let alone hearing it.

Making my way along the river, I saw the gondola rowers, who I so admire!

They must be in amazing shape, rowing up and down the river all night (no “that’s what she said” comments, please! ::smile::). When I finally met up with my friends, we decided we’d take a ride the next time we visited. Unfortunately, my camera died once the show began. Go figure, haha. I’ll have to steal the pictures from my friend.

To finish off the day, we got dessert from the Cheesecake Factory. I had never been there before and feel like I’ve been introduced to this big secret that everyone else knew about except me! I’m very indecisive when it comes to ordering (among other things), and was craving every chocolate delight I came across in the menu! And to my surprise, guess what?! They had a cake that had EVERYTHING I was craving! The masterpiece is called Chris’s Outrageous Chocolate Cake, but my friends and I joked that they should have named it after me. My friend took a picture, but to avoid the delay in uploading it, here’s a picture from the internet:

Chris\'s Outrageous Chocolate Cake

This delightful treat that will keep on treating you for days later (I still have yet to finish the one piece I ordered!) includes the following yummy layers: brownie, chocolate mousse, cheesecake, coconut, moist chocolate cake, and chocolate chips… and of course, we cannot neglect to mention the side of whipped cream. Every bite is a surprise of flavor! All I can say is “”Mmmm, mmm! Thank you, Chris, whoever you are!”

I usually don’t like cheesecake, but turns out that cheesecake layer rivals the coconut layer in best layer of all! I am highly anticipate my next visit! We’re supposed to eat dinner next time we visit. If their cake is this good, I’m excited for their meals.

All in all, it was a good day… good day.