Archive for August, 2014

Armor becomes Sword


As we progress through our lives we build up defenses against (perceived) threats, shielding ourselves from things we fear. Sometimes genuine neuroses can be effectively fended off by subconscious actions that are generally harmless. Sometimes. But mostly those defenses isolate us. Whatever damage led us there can continue to flourish in an environment that doesn’t challenge it. We may feel comfortable avoiding, but the underlying problems that go unchallenged can rear their heads when your guard is down.

Worse is when the armor you’ve devised for protection becomes a weapon. Anxiety over one’s perceived lack of capability may lead to being overly critical of others, for a basic example. That’s easy to recognize. Harder is when it manifests as more nuanced or emotionally subversive actions. When the fortress is too strong or the love too weak there is damage. It can be quite shocking and painful to discover how much you hurt someone.

When you hurt others you ultimately hurt yourself. Take off the armor and expose yourself before it becomes a sword.

Forsaken (Breaking Point Continued)


Behind the ‘game face’

A previous post dealt with people giving up. As noted, we can sometimes push people too far.

Why push people? That fine line between trying to get something better out of them and…just maybe because of some need within ourselves? We often don’t know what we are doing to people until something finally snaps. That can trigger a period of real growth, or it can do damage. You’re probably not an expert at this so perhaps it is better to adopt the live and let live attitude. Part of love is letting people be who they are. That doesn’t mean you have to volunteer to be around them, but you’re probably best served not to try to change them very much unless you believe they truly WANT to change, and trust you with it. Only then do you have permission to tamper with the difficult things. We’re all guilty of this at times. Be careful.

As ugly as that can be, what’s uglier is giving up on them. Abandoning someone is the worst. When a person feels another disengage it produces a kind of hopelessness that not only can do a lot of damage, but it takes away reasons for fighting through it. You have conveyed that they aren’t worth it. It may take away enough that…a person’s state of mind can be disastrously affected. As the commenter in a previous post noted, some actions aren’t undoable.

Don’t think about it only in the extremes. Self worth (esteem), sociability, intimacy, and a bunch of other issues that follow us through our lives are affected in relative ways. People yearn to feel loved. The causes of and feeling of being loved are not easy to pin down. If you feel someone genuinely cares and wants you in their life then you generally feel loved. The ‘genuinely cares’ part is often judged by the sacrifices one is willing to make. Big sacrifices = big love. Small or no sacrifices = superficial love (at best).

As a responsible member of the (flawed) human race you have some responsibility to people to not let them feel forsaken. Obviously you can’t walk through the world making every person your responsibility, but in the same way most of us have a sense of right and wrong, we also have a sense of who needs to feel our presence. The people in our lives need us. Maybe they are there because they need us, though some may need more than others. You don’t have to think of it in absolutes, or treat everyone equally. They just need to feel you are (willing to be) there, even (especially) if it costs you something.

Don’t ignore that. There are times in life it would be much easier to do so, but as I’ve alluded to many times in this blog, easy and comfortable are overrated in the short run and underrated in the long run. This is a long run type of issue. And also, like I have also written in this blog, if you can’t do it for someone else, do it for yourself. You will feel better in the end. The affected parties can collectively win or lose on your actions. What an awesome responsibility we have to each other. Isn’t that beautiful?

Hmmm. It depends.


An Infinite Moment in Time

Sometimes it takes just an instant. A moment of poor judgement, a moment of brilliance, an hour of extreme depression. It can begin or end a lifetime…or a life. The whole universe can be contained in that moment, for someone.

While the rest of us stare at our computers. Sometimes we wonder. Often we just exist, and plod on with a vague, underlying feeling of angst.

Right now many are so dismayed at the death of Robin Williams. Another in a series of famous and talented personalities we’ve learned were riddled with ‘issues’ and suffering from one of the more troubling diseases of our times: depression.

How sad it is that he reached a state where no one was able to help him. Imagine those final hours (or days?) leading up to it. He moved us. And he was also moved.

Meanwhile with much less fanfare a kid gets snuffed in Missouri by a cop. We’ll never know much of what really happened, but the bottom line is in a moment a kid is dead. Or you have a race car driver who possibly had a colossal lapse of judgement in what may have been a moment of anger or spite.

These are just moments for the pontificating world. They are the universes and lifetimes for some. What do we owe each other? Don’t wait until it’s too late.



CreativeFunnelWhat actually is creativity? Most of us think we have some, but how do we identify with it, and why do so many of us struggle to put it to practical use?

Many think creativity is the ability to come up with good ideas. That is part of it. Some are very good at the thinking required to generate ideas. They seem less inhibited by fear, and generally more wondrous and open to possibilities. This is the divergent thinking part of creativity. The ability to author ideas, no matter how wild, relating to a single subject. Kids are inherently great divergent thinkers…until the world beats it out of them in favor of conformity under the guise of obedience.

Great, so you have all these ideas around. What do you do with them? Many a songwriter has languished in the inability to pull it all together and finish.

We also need convergent thinking, which is the process of developing rules and applying judgement to enable the arrival at a single solution to a problem. This doesn’t feel like creativity to some, but it actually is a vital part of it.

Creativity isn’t just an ability to come up with ideas. That’s way underselling it, and spins it as too much of a gift only select few are born with. Creativity is actually the process of coming up with good ideas. That process includes all of the brainstorming, culling, problem solving, testing, vetting and reworking required to actually manifest the complete idea. Not to be confused with the actual implementation of the idea (like the painter who actually executes the paining), creativity can stop at the idea being compelling in some way, even if not feasible.

These skills can be developed through discipline and practice. For a writer, it takes writing and reading and experiencing and seeing in a way that others might not intuitively see. It often takes years of shitty or incomplete work to finally begin to be able to put the skills together. And in some cases one skill or the other never quite develops. That’s where partnerships work wonders.


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