“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour).”—Vladimir Nabokov’s Speak, Memory
It’s easy to imagine habits like a scotch after dinner, biting your nails or saying, “you know” after every sentence. An event or a time of day triggers us, and we go with the habit. It’s easier than exploring new…
“I hope you miss me, though I could scarcely (even in the cause of vanity) wish you to miss me as much as I miss you, for that hurts too much, but what I do hope is that I’ve left some sort of a little blank which won’t be filled till I come back. I bear you a grudge for spoiling me for everybody’s else companionship, it is too bad.”—Vita Sackville-West (via hellanne)
After months of sadness and wishing, it came true. My love came back to me. Sure, her mannerisms aren’t the same; her hair’s a different colour; and I call her by a different name. But it’s back.
We take the same walks through country paths in the rain and the sun. I tell her those same stories of my past and future, and she nods and laughs – just like the first time. But it’s not the first time. My first time is gone.
My love is back now though. And every now and then, I see a glimpse of my first in her. It reminds me of how I will see, so vividly, the colour orange whilst chomping upon a Terry’s chocolate treat; a sort of homage to that sad citrus fruit with whom I experienced it first.
So, my message to all of you is this: do not become hung up on ‘the one’. Chase the feeling. There exists the potential in a billion souls. Do not be afraid to ignite that fire once again. Let it engulf your world. Let it envelope your senses. And when that last flickering flame turns on itself in anguish, don’t ever let yourself believe it’s been forever extinguished.
I said the following in response to two friends who were bickering about something stupid and one of them immediately responded,
"Isn’t it sad that we associate marriage with bickering?"
I’m not sure how I feel about that just yet. I definitely see his point, but there’s also strength in a relationship that isn’t stressed by bickering and there’s value in being able to be brazenly honest. I don’t think it’s as simple as he’s making it out to be.
But last night another friend did say that “life is a power struggle and you never want to show someone that they have all the power.”
In the heat of the moment, I agreed. But after thinking about it, this is actually one of the points I mentioned in a previous post:
We should stop viewing interactions as a vie for power, because it’s a mindset that deals pain as an alternative to being hurt. It causes a depression in the social space - pushing someone down as opposed to lifting someone up, which I’ll call an impression - and places unnecessary pressure on those nearby.
Scott Simpson, of the blog YourMonkeyCalled.com, recently wrote a piece titled “You Are Boring.” In it, he recalls every conversation he’s ever heard between two people:
Stranger #1: Thing about my life. Stranger #2: Thing about my life that is somewhat related to what you just said. Stranger #1: Thing about my life that is somewhat related to what you just said. Stranger#2: Thing about my life…
Why are we only interested in ourselves? And not in a good way where we’re introspective, but in a puffed up way where we want to pat ourselves on the back and have others give us kudos for the insignificant things in our lives.
Why don’t we ask more questions? Be more inquisitive? Find out the why and how of things instead of the what? Why not lift others up instead of putting them down?
I think this approach can also apply to the entrepreneurial landscape. I’ve recently been reading the book Blue Ocean Strategy. It talks about the diminishing returns of fighting in established markets (red oceans, made bloody by excessive competition) and encourages entrepreneurs to create new markets (blue oceans, free of limitations).
When companies fight ignorantly over existing markets, they make miniscule changes, add insignificant benefits to the consumer, and take on heavy burdens of extra cost. PT Barnum & Bailey and Wringling Brothers died because they focused on featuring stars (which no one cared about), marketed based on a 3-ring venue (which increased the number of performers needed with other cost implications), and their high concession costs discouraged audiences from making purchases and made them feel taken advantage of. Whereas Cirque du Soleil offered new benefits such as a story line, intellectual richness, artistic music and dance, and multiple productions. Apple under Steve Jobs was constantly innovating the consumer space. Steve thought intensely about how people interacted with electronics and always looked to improve that, and because he built products that enhanced people’s lives rather than competing for market space, he ended up building a beautiful company that is still loved by billions of people.
There’s a vast difference between helping someone because you want power vs helping someone and inadvertently receiving respect. The ends don’t justify the means. Coincidentally I also touched on this point in a previous post:
Be with me,
not because I am kind
but because the taste of kindness is sweeter when we are entangled.
Be with me,
not because I am pleasant
but because all pleasantries aside, we are known by each other.
Be with me,
not because I amuse
but because things are less amusing when we are apart.
Be with me,
not because I am bold
but because the boldness of your character has found its match in mine.
This is a call for mercy
so that my poor heart can rest in peace,
rest in a peace that excludes death.
For we are not a stillness
But a wave cresting,
gaining momentum with every forward movement.
Be with me
not because you are able
but because you are unable
“And in the big cities, protestors blocked the roads like
a blocked heart, whose master will die. And the dead were already
hung out like fruit, for eternal ripening within
the history of the world. They searched for the child; and found
pairs of lovers, hidden; found ancient urns;
found everything that sought not to be revealed. For love
was too short and didn’t cover them all, like a too-short
blanket. A head or two feet stuck out in the wind
when the cold night came. Or they found a short-cut of sharp
brief pain instead of the long, oblivion-causing
streets of joy and of satiation. And at night
the names of the world, of foreign cities and dark
lakes and peoples long vanished.”—Yehuda Amichai - The Elegy on the Lost Child