Celebration is a ritual of mediation that I practice on the third week of every month. Responding to my own tendency toward cynicism, this undertaking is not just about searching for things to praise in life, but about realizing the possibility for joy in what is already in front of us. Topics are decided on, images are made, and journal entries are written on each day during this week.
Our interior lives can often feel like raw, ugly truths that we are guarding from others, preserving our reputations as fully-formed individuals with no weaknesses, able to navigate life’s troubles without hinderance from minor issues. We are under the false impression that stronger people have no problem dealing with these issues, and that, if exposed, we risk being taken advantage of. In actuality, vulnerability establishes trust. By showing weaknesses to others, we exhibit a kind of faith, and if that faith is rewarded, a path to companionship can be forged.
Before being a tool of construction, bluntness must first be a tool of destruction, and so it has a naturally unwelcome presence. Yet, when appropriately utilized, and coming from a place of good intent, bluntness can be exactly what is called for. It's a kind of tactful irreverence, and is usually deployed in a delicate situation precisely because things have become too delicate. The things we don’t want are often exactly what we need, and bluntness allows social graces to be dismissed as trivial, just for a moment, when compared to the necessity of moving forward.
Mysteries exist because of the possibility of multiple realities. Imagination thrives in the unknown, creating life that is, paradoxically, defined by us. Do we really want to know the answers to our deepest questions? If we are keen enough to know these answers when we see them, we will find more questions, still. Where is the lure of life without this multiplicity—without possibility and hope? Feeling lost is unavoidable, but this should excite us. Every person is drawing a map around the center-point of their self, never quite reaching the edge of the page.
Motivation can come from many places, but perhaps most generatively from competition. Competitors have the exciting opportunity to inspire one another, but must be open to being surprised by the strengths in others and weaknesses in themselves. This makes competing a humbling yet energizing challenge of both capability and self-knowledge.
At its best, mastery is not an aspiration to be better than others. It is a state of personal achievement, the result of a decision to become radically familiar with a chosen passion. One has to be active and engaged with one's art to master it—the sign of a soul brimming with vitality and inspiration. Fascination is the start of any passion, but commitment must be practiced in order to carry this through to expertise. This dedication, so difficult and beyond our short-term desires, is why we revere those who seek mastery.
The automatic response is a tool of survival, and while the Darwinian aspects of instinct can remind us of our place in nature, we can intellectually build on our behavior, leaning on it and letting it play out appropriately to create an even stronger sense of security. Instinct shields us as we progress through life, allowing us to work collaboratively with obstacles, rather than against them.
The summary of experience draws itself with tone as a primary guide. Tone requires a sender and receiver, an interpretation of the frequency happening on both sides with hope of minimal discrepancies. These messages-within-messages are what make music so powerful, yet they are crafts of poetry that can be used throughout life, begging us to acknowledge the presence of perceptions shared and unshared.