Hello fair readers! I know it's been some times once I've posted-Swimming has been busy at sea whale watching, volunteering, working, and sorting out a tumultuous lodging situation.
I will post my maritime adventures later. For now, I would like to share a wonderful poem entitled 'Life Changes'. While volunteering at Healthcare for the Homeless, one very special lady gave me a copy of her poem after she told me about her battle with ovarian cancer and how she wrote this one night. She encouraged me to stay strong in all of my endeavors, to love greatly, and to laugh and be silly (she has been married 20 years and still plays pranks on her husband). She also gave me some wonderful words of wisdom to stand up for myself, be very discerning, and learn some Krav Maga to defend myself. I look forward to hanging out with her more. For now, enjoy her wonderful words:
"The real champion practices alone--bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when NO ONE else is watching"
Below is a re-post that I absolutely love:
Excruciating effort feels amazing. I found this quote a while back from the abstract of the book Aquarium by Victor Suvorov about Soviet military intelligence. I feel it really captures my current attitude on life:
Man is capable of performing miracles. A man can swim the English Channel three times, drink a hundred mugs of beer, walk barefoot on burning coals; he can learn thirty languages, become an Olympic champion at boxing, invent the television or the bicycle, become a general in the GRU or make himself a millionaire. It's all in our own hands.
If you want it you can get it...
Success comes only when the training, of whatever kind (memory, muscles, mind, willpower, stamina), takes a man to the limit of his capacity. When the end of the training becomes torture. When a man cries out from pain and exhaustion. Training is effective only when it takes a man to the very limit of his capacity and he knows exactly where the limit is...
That's the road to glory. That's the path to success. To work only at the very limit of your capacity. To work at the brink of collapse. You can become a champion only if you are the sort of person who, knowing that the bar is about to fall and crush him, nevertheless heaves it upwards. The only ones who have conquered themselves, who have defeated their own fear, their own laziness and their own lack of confidence
Swimming has returned!! Just wanted to share this Will Smith video and my thoughts on the highlights since my head is spinning and I can't sleep: http://youtu.be/pfWGoLj1JCM
(1) "I know who I am and what I believe and that's all I need to know."
-I will soon be leaving my 20s behind (~1 year from now) but not with a better sense of who I am necessarily. This is, in part, due to the fact that I am realizing that certain beliefs I've held are not my beliefs at all, but rather a byproduct of societal conditioning. I am now working to reframe those beliefs. This is immensely difficult; part of what I have spent my 20s struggling with is discovering that the ideology behind our current counterculture generation is actually not progressive and may in fact be detrimental. Our society may appear more progressive, but this progress has not necessarily begat any increase in happiness. (http://ftp.iza.org/dp3624.pdf). Many of our societal beliefs are actually completely unfounded: what we think is good for us is actually not good at all. (There are a plethora of examples here, but some major ones are our food culture among other social conventions. These are riddled with misconceptions). We blindly follow the norms without question to what it is doing to our health let alone our happiness. We are in such a hurry to keep up with the herd, that we rarely stop to investigate the truth for ourselves.
To cut this short--I am lucky to have awoken from this blissful ignorance. (PK has significantly helped with this process and THANK YOU!!). I now attempt to seek the truth on my own and unveil the fallacy in certain beliefs. I do this by reading voraciously and constantly from numerous resources, but I also seek the truth by attempting to understand the human condition of others. Upon some introspective reflection on this information, I ultimately to reframe my beliefs. What I have realized is that going against the grain is never easy, but I am trying to develop the backbone to stand up for what I believe in anyway. The hard part is when you go against the grain in multiple aspects of your life. I still do not know how to deal with this. The outcome is to either give in (which for me would entail significant ramifications to my health and wellness) or to stick to my beliefs (all-the-while being malleable when new information should compel me to reconsider things). The latter has left me and some of my closest friends somewhat alienated from our age cohort. I guess stay-tuned to see how we ultimately reconcile this.
(2) "the separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts...skill is only developed after hours and hours of beating on your craft"
"Your talent is going to fail you if you are not skilled"
-I have ranted about this before I'm sure, but I refuse to buy into the myth of natural talent. I LOVE this article that debunks this societal fallacy: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/
Basically, (1) our society loves to praise for natural talent. If you are good at something we automatically assume you should pursue that endeavor and not venture into something that will be difficult for you (2) our society believes that pursuing said natural talent will ensure success. Why? Because you won't have to expend effort. "Expending effort is stigmatized...it means you can't cut it on your natural gifts"
Anyone who has achieved excellence in any field knows that the above is nonsense. There are a few things I am certain of: (1) nothing worth having comes easy (2) I can achieve what I want by trying my best especially after any failure (3) what I want to achieve I am willing to put in whatever effort is necessary or die trying.
(3) "you don't set out to build a wall, you say I'm going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every day and soon you will have a wall"
(4) "I want the world to be better because I was here."
(5) "if you are not making someone else's life better then you are wasting your time"
(6) "Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity."
(7) "you can't be scared to die for the truth. The is the only thing that is going to be constant"
Phil saw his shadow yesterday so there will be 6 more weeks of winter.
Here are some happenings from my life:
(1) I had a splendid time at the orchestra. The concert was Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony-a piece with many dramatic and lyrical components with the overall theme of fate. Here's a photo of gorgeous Severance Hall!
(2) Oh my ears and whiskers! We have finally got some snow. Here's a pretty photo of some fractals (a tree outside my apartment):
(3) I would be remiss if I didn't post a picture of the gorgeous holiday lights up in Michigan.
Oh me, oh my has it really been this long?!?! Here's some musings to start off the year. I hope everyone has been well-fed and well-rested from the holiday and post-holiday lull. More fun things to come throughout the year from Maritime adventures. In the mean time, here's a few musings: