Wednesday, March 26, 2008

(This Song's Just) Six Words Long

One of my collegues read this article in the Toronto Star and suggested I try it with my writing class. Being gifted with verbosity, I've often struggled with how to say more by writing less. This is why I find haikus and children's literature so fascinating!
So when given the opportunity to write my life story in only six words, I jumped at the chance!

As with all good writers, I had to read what everyone else had done to get an idea of what worked and what didn't work.
People often went for lists. Tea. Riesling. Pinot. Zinfandel. Creemore. Horlicks. (Jamie Drummond, Sommelier, Jamie Kennedy Kitchens)
Others had two short sentences. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, wrote: "Me see world. Me write stories."
However, what attracted me most were the one-liners that brilliantly said it all, headline-style. Battled injustice wherever I saw it. (Michel Ladouceur, Kingston)

So here's mine. Sadly I couldn't just have one BUT had to have two. Enjoy!

Kansas boy becomes man in Korea.

Search for peace, joy and love discontinued.

Share your story. If you dare! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Never Quite Enough

For a long time I've been struggling with a faith question and I think I've finally worked it out (for myself). Before in this blog I've wondered whether we are good people who sometimes make bad mistakes or bad people who try to make good choices. This conflict stemmed from a paradox found in the Bible. We were created in God's wonderous image and yet we all are sinners (thanks to Adam and Eve), therefore unworthy of God's love. Yet through the grace of God (due to the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ), we have been adopted into the family of God. In my mind, it came down to two options: Either we were unworthy sinners or God's shining images and worthy.

This dilema was resolved for me when I considered a new idea. What if it's not exclusively one or the other but both? Furthermore, while at the same time admitting I'm a fallible human being, I choose to focus on seeing myself as God sees me? Sort of like those optical illusions that are two pictures at once?

Constantly viewing myself as a sinner has been detrimental in my efforts to be closer to God. Responses like, "Lord, I'm not worthy to receive you but only say the words and I shall be healed," and hearing numerous sermons about the many sins I was guilty of (in either thought or deed) led me to believe I would never be good enough for God. I will fail and fail again. Is it any wonder then why so many gay Christians give up and quit the church or give up and quit life? However if I choose to see myself as the essence of love, joy and peace, I can rise above the self-loathing unworthiness and be able to smile at the world and proclaim "I am a beautiful, marvelous, dare I say, fabulous creation of God."

To you, this discovery many seem pretty obvious, but it took reading a self-help book to get it through my head. I wasn't happy because I didn't believe I was worthy of happiness. I thought happiness took hard work and sacrifice. That, to have a good life, I must fill my life with good things.

Instead, the author stated that anyone and everyone could be happy if they chose happiness. In spite of influencers (positive and negative) all around me, I can choose, each day, to be happy now, in this moment. It's not about "bettering myself" through products, exercise, new clothes, work, affirmations or pleasures. It's about accessing the peace, love and joy that dwell within me to shine through me to rest of the world.

There is a trite saying that applies here: "Let God and Let God." I actually appreciate the simplicity of that imperative statement (Who's a grammar teacher?). The following song has always been a favourite of mine and now I can see how it really applies to my life.

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head,
And the thoughtful words of health and hope
Have all been nicely said.
But I'm still hurting,
Wondering if Ill ever be
The one I think I am.
I think I am.
Then you gently re-remind me
That you've made me from the first,
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.
And I realize the good in me,
Is only there because of who you are.
Who you are...
And all I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.
As you daily recreate me,
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find.
And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Do You Think I'm Satisfied?

I tried to stay ahead, I tried to stay on top,
I tried to play the part, But somehow I forgot,
Just what I did it for, And why I wanted more,
This type of modern life - Is it for me?
This type of modern life - Is it for free?
Listening to this song during last week's Madonnarama party at fly got me thinking about all the conditions I have put on enjoying happiness now. Judgements like "I'm not good enough." always results in "I should do more", "I must try harder," and "I ought to get everything right."

The book I just finished reading suggested that I make a "musterbation" list. This is a list of all the restrictions on happiness that I have invented for myself. Never one to turn down an opportunity to make a list, I jumped at the chance! I found the product quite enlightening as you will see...

Danifesto's Musterbation List!

To be happy I must move out of my parents' house/to Korea/to Canada.

To be happy I must get a boyfriend/move in/get engaged/get married.

To be happy I must be in a relationship/a better one/a better one/a long-term one/ with someone who isn't a dork/ with someone smarter/cuter/hotter/faithful/funny/a better one....

To be happy I must look amazingly fabulous at all times/especially for this job interview/ date/party

I will be happy when I finish high school/ university/ student teaching.

To be happy I must pay off my student loans/the loan from my parents/my car loan.

To be happy I must get a car/ buy property/ get a house.

To be happy I must be taller/ bigger here/ smaller there/ more hair here/but less hair there/ have six pack abs!

To be happy I must have a job/a better job/ a better paying job / a job I can be out at.

To be happy I must go to church every Sunday/ at a church that's gay friendly/ that isn't too far away/ with good music/ that has services at the time I can get my butt out of bed.

To be happy I must get approval from my parents.

To be happy I must have a cat/ plants/ a child/ children.

To be happy I must have all my worldly belongings under one roof, in one country.

To be happy I must move to a more desirable location/ with TTC access/ in my spending range/ inclusive of all utilities.

To be happy I must be loved/ more/ in the way that I want/ better/ more!

To be happy I must have every episode of Sex in the City/ Six Feet Under/Tales of a City.

To be happy I must be well-read and informed on all subjects/ have read all the good books/ all the books my friends have read/ all the books I should have read.

This list clearly could go on and on. What I've learned from making this list is that after achieving any of these goals, I tend to make new ones, thus delaying my happiness for later. What I'm realizing is that happiness is free, without restrictions or conditions. I really can, if I choose, be happy right now.

How about you? What's on your "musterbation" list?