31 July 2014


"Compassion hurts.  When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything.  And you cannot turn away.  Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others.  You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it.  You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors."  -Andrew Boyd

It can be so hard to get invested in someone or something knowing that it can and likely will end. Whether it's a friend moving away, moving on to a better opportunity, or things just not working out. I enjoyed chemistry while I was in school, and one of the materials that stuck with me were polymers. A lot of polymers are quite malleable, but at the same time quite strong. It's tough to lose something that was dear to you and it's tough knowing what "could have been." And while all good things must eventually come to an end, that does not mean that the journey wasn't worth it. I never want to be callused against the world. I want to show my humanity in the hopes that someone will show me theirs. I would rather know someone and have them leave than to have never known them. 

We are emotional animals for a reason. It allows us to create a community and bond with one another, but it makes the end of something feel that much greater. We must continue to be soft, but strong. To never fear something based on a predicted ending. 

"Be soft.  Do not let the world make you hard.  Do not let your pain make you hate.  Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.  Take pride even though the world may disagree with you, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."  -Kurt Vonnegut

Because it can be a gorgeous place if we let it. 

21 March 2014

Meaning of Life

This uniqueness and singleness which distinguishes each individual and gives a meaning to his existence has a bearing on creative work as much as it does on human love. When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude. A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any "how." - Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist in Vienna who was arrested and transported to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents in 1942.

Dr. Frankl survived the Holocaust even though his wife and parents did not. I don't know much about his life other than the little information that I've shared, but to me he seems like a great man.

It's interesting to feel and to see the mix of emotions that occur after hearing about someone whom we find inspiring. We look up to that person with a reverence and can put them on a pedestal of greatness. We can either then want to mimic what that person has done in our own lives, or think to ourselves that we will never be able to live up to that caliber of a life.

What's interesting to me is that almost no influential person sets out to be that way.  They just keep on keeping on in a way that works for them at that moment. I've always wondered if the "greats" have ever had a moment where they feel that they are "great".  Or would that defeat their influence?  Would that increase their influence?

I have always wished that my life was like a movie, where there is this omniscient view, well there is, but one where I could occasionally take that view point.  It would be quite helpful the times I lose my keys, or forget to do something important.  But what if we could occasionally take this omniscient view to see how our lives influence other people.  Would that increase our influence, or would that mar us from reaching our full potential.

I have been thinking about this recently after some news of people I used to know passing away.  Do you think they knew their influence on other people's lives before their life was cut too short?  I would like to think that we all know at least some of the influence that they have on other people's lives.

But just for a minute, think about all of the amazing people who were once in your lives, but for one reason or another, their role had been diminished or extinct.  Every once in a while, I think about these people and their impact they have had on my life.  Is there someone out there that thinks of me like that?  If we were aware that was happening would we change to keep them a part of our lives?

More importantly, would knowing that make our further interactions any less sincere? 

I don't have the answers to all of these posed questions, and I have strayed down a rabbit hole from the original quote.

Do you know why you are alive?  Have you found you passion?

Personally, I still don't believe that I have found my passion.  I have had brief visions, if you will, about what it may look like, but I don't have a clear view as to what my life's work will be.  Does that mean that if I was in Dr. Frankl's position that I would have a harder chance to survive until the end of WWII?  Definitely.  Does that mean that I wouldn't survive?  Definitely not.

I urge all of you who are reading this, to find your passion.  Make it a priority, make it the top of your to do list, whatever it takes.  This is important, your life may very well depend on it.  While I hope there will never be another atrocity like WWII that would test you as such, sometimes, your passion or your journey to discover your passion, can make your life feel worth it.