Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Change In The Wind, Says I

I hate change. I know I'm supposed to be some wild and free, bohemian, groovy, go-with-the-flow, jazzy-jazzy, writer-poet-free thinker, but...I'm really not. Sometimes I am an obstinate, stubborn mofo who wants everything to stay the same: nice and safe and goddamn predictable. I don't want to get off the couch, I don't want to change my clothes, let alone my mind, and I don't want to have to learn contrary habits and actions. Change my Habits?! Are you kidding me? This is a joke, right? I've spent years - years! - sculpting and crafting those habits. And I'm just supposed to chuck them out the window now because they don't work? Call me Bartleby, but I'd prefer not to.

But what happens when you tell the Universe you don't want to change? Everything changes. Your grandmother dies. You have to find a new place to live. You have to get a new job. All your resistance does is place an emergency call to the Tricksters Union (Local 247). Coyote sneaks into your room and pours a bucket of cold water on your head at three in the morning. Eleggua is waiting for you in the alley with a two-by-four to the dome. Hell, Bugs Bunny even gets in on the action and suddenly you look down and realize you're running on thin air. And there's nothing you can do about any of it.

Stopping the flow of change is as impossible as stopping an oncoming wave. And you look just as silly trying.

The upside is that after you've been splashed with water or mugged by a few Tricksters, you get to see what they were really up to. You get to see the world in a new way. Yes, a grandmother leaves, but a niece or nephew shows up. Life is change, change is good, and therefore Aristotle, life is good.

And that is all ye know and all ye need to know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This Just In

Via Roses:

"Yeah, I'm scared. But you know what? Fear and excitement are right next to each other and they mean I'm doing something different, something a bit risky. And fuck it. I'm going to do it anyway."

I believe I shall inscribe this one upon the wall...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The War Against Common Sense

The terrorist's war is a war he cannot win
because terror does not give rise to fear,
terror gives rise to courage, solidarity, and gratitude
for all that is not lost.

The terrorist's war is a war he cannot win
because the memory of those we love
is more alive than the hatred for those we do not know.

The terrorist's war is a war he cannot win
because the death of one innocent
is the birth of a million human hearts.

The terrorist's war is a war he cannot win:

because our greatest lessons come from our enemies

because one day we'll remember that we all want peace

because you cannot fight for an illusion you can only die for one -

but you can live
and fight
and win
if you take every single breath
for love.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In Defense of a Phrase

"It is what it is":

What incredibly vapid, stupid and unoriginal people say when they cannot construct a proper thought, retort or sentence.

-Urban Dictionary

Why has this phrase fallen so far out of favor? And why is it considered something "stupid" people say?

Let's take these one at a time. It has fallen out of favor because it sounds dismissive and escapist. I think the critics are hearing it but not listening to what it means. It is about accepting reality as it is; surrendering to reality instead of resisting it. It is a simple and profound zen statement on the nature of existence: you cannot fight the truth, no matter how much you want to, because you only make your life harder if you do. Reality will not change to suit you. You will struggle fruitlessly until you accept life on life's terms.

It is considered something "stupid" people say because people ignore the rich history of this phrase. It is not one of those recent, oft-repeated, meaningless phrases (like everyone's favorite whipping-boy "At the end of the day..."). For example, I often heard this phrase in my youth from the mouth of many a wise old(er) black man. When I whined and whinged about the unfairness of the world, someone would smile, put a hand on my shoulder and say gently, "It is what it is, man". What I heard was: accept it, deal with it, and move on. An older generation may have told each other, "You can't fight City Hall", while a younger, less serious, generation might say, "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown" - but the message is the same essential wisdom. Fight reality and reality will win, every time.

So what is one to do? Don't spend your energy worrying about/trying to change/stressing over things that are outside of your control. Focus on what you can change: yourself. This in turn will change the world. When life seems unfair, take a breath, relax, and remember: IT IS WHAT IT IS.