It’s amazing to see just how much one can improve in the span of a couple of years. I recently found this old fractal in my files, and decided to update it to reflect my current skill level.
The mystery of the vortex has been in this piece right from the start though, and no amount of technical proficiency could have compensated for the lack of that. Revisiting the past reminds me of how magical the whole process felt back then. Being able to even create something at all, having complete control over this tiny universe within an editor. It was exhilarating, and my writings from that time reflect that breathlessness, the complete amazement at my newly found passion.
I’ve grown up a lot since then, but once thing I promise myself is to never lose that sense of childlike wonder. It’s the stuff life is made from.
A spider glides down from the ceiling and lands on my desk.
I’m afraid, I want to kill this little creature; she dares to suggest the possibility of being able to hurt me. What if she bites me? While I am sitting and writing, lying and sleeping; I won’t share my home with a poisonous animal.
Fear is the strangest thing. It makes us ruin our life and that of others, desperately trying to avoid precisely such ruin. But it’s not the only option.
Without hesitation, she makes her way towards my keyboard, walks straight over it, and hangs herself from the border of the desk, where she remains suspended in the air.
I’m taken aback, I gaze at this little creature; she dares to suggest the possibility of beauty, wonder and compassion. While I am sitting and writing, lying and sleeping, I share my home with an angel.
She poses herself on the ground. A sound outside distracts me. When I look again, she’s gone.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted non-fractal stuff on this blog, but I feel that I need to make myself publicly accountable for this.
In the month of september, I will eat a 100% vegan diet.
There. I’ve been considering to change my diet for quite a while, but there was always something “more important” I chose to focus my energy on. One of the biggest obstacles of eating a non-standard diet is that the entire social structure is constantly pressing against your decision. A couple of years ago, I tried going vegetarian, but found it hard to keep up mostly because I had a normal job back then, which added even further to that pressure with lots of lunches, meetings, and events.
Early this year, when I finally gave up my job to become a freelancer, I meant to give it another try, but somehow always kept pushing it off. The excuse was that I wanted to get used to my new working environment first, and the inertia generated by that decision carried the habit forward another 6 months unquestioned.
I’m putting an end to that right now. It took a not-so-gentle reminder popping up in my feed reader, even if I already knew all the arguments for making a switch. My reasons for this decisions are three-fold:
1) Nutritional: Some people say that humans are made to eat meat; others say that we are vegans by nature. I’ve eaten meat my entire life, so it’s only fair to see how it’s like to be on the other side of the debate.
2) Environmental: Do you seriously think that deforestation happens because you printed one too many pages of paper? That’s absurd. The paper industry plants trees just as fast as they raze them. Forests recede when cows take their place. Eating fruits and vegetables is orders of magnitude more efficient than eating meat, simply because a very low percentage of the energy animals consume is actually converted to meat, the rest being lost to side effects such as growing bones, keeping their body temperature and emitting greenhouse gases.
3) Ethical: It’s nice to pretend you’re not responsible for the things you are (directly or indirectly) paying other people to do for you, but that just isn’t true, and I’m not willing to ignore it any longer. I’m not against eating meat per se, but rather against the horrible practices of the industries involved (see video in the link above). If my personal ethics prevent me from mercilessly torturing and killing animals, they must also prevent me from allowing others to do it on my behalf.
I don’t know whether this experiment will turn into a permanent change. I’m giving myself permission to return to my old habits after september is over.
And so the soul within is brought to life again…
You can always go deeper, even if you think you’ve already learned a lot about something, specially in any creative endeavour. It becomes neccessary to stop all distractions and to fully listen to a particular voice that calls you from within. This may mean leaving things undone, focusing just on this one thing you’re trying to understand, explore, discover.
This kind of single-minded focus is sharp and powerful. It may not always seem correct to take such a strong stance, but it’s often the only way to get anything done. This is how you develop as a human being, this is how you remain true to yourself, this is how you honor your spirit. The rest can wait, at least for now.
Steve Pavlina has been a big influence in my life ever since I discovered his blog a bit over a year ago. At that time, he opened a lot of doors for me leading to my discovery of the wonderful blogging community I’m now a part of.
With that in mind, I have to say I was pretty excited when I learned earlier this year that Steve would be publishing his first book, one that promised to go beyond specific and narrow topics and right to the heart of what growth means for a human being, through the 7 fundamental principles he named truth, love, power, oneness, authority, courage and intelligence.
Has he achieved this highly ambitious goal? I can’t answer that for everyone; all I can do is to share my own impressions and let you draw your own conclusions.
I’m quite familiar with Steve’s writings, so I felt right at home when I started reading his book. It’s always refreshing to see someone capturing highly abstract concepts and expressing them in a down-to-earth, practical manner. The main thesis explained in the book is that overcoming every single challenge you face in life can be reduced to the application of 3 fundamental principles: Truth, Love and Power, from which all other are derived.
As I read through these chapters, what he wrote somehow felt right. It’s as if he had tapped into some universal, deep wisdom to extract these concepts. This is nothing new, as Jeff notes in his review, but the absolutely practical way in which these ideas are expressed make them easily applicable to daily life. This is Steve’s biggest accomplishment by far, although in his usual manner he heavily infused the text with current american culture, going a bit contrary to his stated goal of writing something universal and timeless, but that’s just a small caveat.
I must say I was very fascinated by the first half of the book, where the 7 principles are explained. I found them so obvious and elegant that I immediately added them to my intuitive vocabulary, and started to rethink my life in these terms. This happened even before reading the second half of the book, which explains precisely how to do that and which, in a sense, was more of a series of how-to guides than core content.
Here are the 3 main principles in short, in my own words:
Thruth is the capacity to learn, to see beyond the obvious and to face even the most uncomfortable facts.
Love is the feeling of connectedness and respect towards everything present in life.
Power is the means through which ideas becomes reality.
In conclusion, I would say this was definitely a read providing me with value orders of magnitude higher than my time investment. If this post has piqued your curiosity, the book can be found here at Amazon.
This post is part of Blog Action Day, and it’s already the second time I’m participating. This year’s topic is poverty. If you have any thoughts of your own you wish to add, I encourage you to participate on your own blog while there’s still time.
Poverty is nothing more than a state of lack in relation to your frame of reference. Defining oneself in relation to the possessions one doesn’t have is a self-perpetuating cycle through which one can never be whole.
The problem is that most people don’t have any idea of what they actually want.
This lack of wholeness leads to much frustration, which is then fed back into the cycle, continuing forever in this futility. Most of the time, what a particular person is looking for is something much subtler and harder to define than money. Money only serves as a bad substitute, something which socially conditioned values put front and center for no other reason than the utter inability of coming up with a more creative alternative.
I for one am not at all surprised or displeased at the recent turn the economy has taken. This “crisis” just exposes the fact that a large percentage of people are still stuck going round and round, trying to apply the same solutions to their intangible problems over and over again. An evidently unsustainable model which was bound to come crashing down eventually.
Only through awareness can this larger problem of humanity be overcome. This century puts the tools of communication at our disposal in a way which greatly helps this process. As more and more people start finding alternate ways of living, the entire social model of what wealth means is starting to change.
The solution doesn’t lie in donating to poor kids in Africa once in a while and then looking the other way; it lies in fundamentally changing the way society as a whole perceives money. As soon as the people who are not in direct need start to care more about sharing than having, about giving than receiving, the rest will take care of itself.
And in the process, it’s getting easier for those who wish to lend a helping hand to people who are really in need, right now, to do so.
So, even if things are looking bad on the surface, now is a better time than ever for us as a whole to overcome poverty once and for all. I won’t ask you to run off and donate some cash; just take some time tonight and think deeply about the role money plays in your life, and how your attitude is affecting the collective consciousness of humanity. That is what will ultimately bring about change for all of us.
A little over a year ago, I had a dream. “Do you believe in magic?” they asked me. To my surprise, I found myself unable to respond, and woke up feeling very strange.
I’ve said before that reality is a very flexible substance, but it’s something entirely different to have an experience confirming it firsthand. I strongly dislike the terminology and vibe associated with concepts like intention manifestation and the law of attraction, but when I say “magic”, I actually mean something pretty close to it, though it’s a bit harder to describe exactly.
Anyway, a couple of months ago I decided to conduct a little experiment. I’ve always wanted to see a Beethoven sonata playing live, So I decided to will it into existence. Just like that. I made that decision and then forgot about it and went on with my life as usual. Nothing happened, for quite some time, which was not very surprising. But then a couple of days ago, being at a friend’s place I saw a flier which just happened to be lying around, advertising a piano function featuring a famous soloist playing sonatas by, you guessed it, Beethoven.
Of course I wanted to go, but I was a bit concerned about the money. Tickets weren’t very expensive, but considering my current financial situation, the amount wasn’t meaningless either. But I couldn’t let that stop me, so I decided that the money issue was going to resolve itself, somehow.
This was scheduled for wednesday, so yesterday I got online to get my ticket, only to find out that they had moved the function to that same day. This meant rescheduling a lot of stuff, so I was tempted to back off again, but I the end I pushed through that inner resistance and decided to go no matter what.
I finally couldn’t get tickets online due to a random technical hurdle, but I had come way too far to give up, so I just headed to the venue to get one right before the function. I was already standing in line when a complete stranger, who had unsuccessfully tried to exchange her ticket, walked up to me and offered it to me, for free. So much for having a financial excuse to justify letting myself down.
The evening was amazing. The music moved me to my very core. It was every bit as great as I had imagined it. And it happened, all by itself, just because I wanted it to and acted on the opportunities that arose.
So, what does this entire thing mean? Well, it depends on your worldview. The circumstances are innocent enough for a skeptic to offhandedly attribute them to coincidence, and perhaps I would have done so too a year ago. But I don’t feel that particular version does this series of events justice. Belief is a thing of fabula, the personal experience we create around the things that actually happen (to paraphrase Corvus). I don’t care anymore what anybody else thinks, because from my entirely subjective point of view, the world just bent over backwards to make a little dream of mine come true.
Do you believe in magic? In my case you don’t even have to ask anymore, but what about you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
They’re not always meant to be solved. I think the most interesting part of being human is having no idea what it all means. Things just are, and you can’t prove any of it to exist. Even questioning is a paradox, the paradox itself is a paradox, ad nauseam. It’s called being too smart for your own good, letting your mind take over when it has no idea what to do when encountering anything that doesn’t fit nicely into its own illusions.
But I question the validity of all these logical constructs and black holes of thought: What happens when your mind has collapsed entirely? Where does the strenght to keep living come from? There’s something else there, beyond all this existential angst.
These circumstances don’t have to dampen your joy of living. It’s definitively not a productive way to spend your time.
At the end of each day, even if you still find yourself utterly clueless, unable to comprehend even the tiniest sliver of existence, you can still choose curiosity instead of fear, wonder instead of despair. And that is, to sum it up, why I believe in divinity.
(Click image for larger version)
Life bursts out of every cell of my being. The world around me becomes alive as I share my own life with it.
I have been experiencing this state of matters for over 23 years now, but it still manages to amaze me every day. That is what life is.