Mono No Aware

 

 

“Mono-no aware: the ephemeral nature of life – the quietly elated, bittersweet feeling of having been witness to the dazzling circus of life – knowing that none of it can last…” – Wiki

It’s a melancholy appreciation for the transience of life, the love of the fleetingness of a single moment that, once occurring, can never truly happen again. That people grow, change, and as such, nothing is permanent. It’s a word derived from Japanese culture that speaks in large part to the appreciation that nothing last’s forever. Even their buildings and culture are created around the idea that there is something more than a simple structure, that there is a greater spirit that carries on a legacy even after the wood has warped, or the stone has crumbled. When this happens, there will come a day when a “hello” will be the last “hello” and a “goodbye” will be the last “goodbye”.

We all have knowledge of these things, coming to us from bittersweet memories that cling like spiky seed pods to clothing.  We face these conflicts and decide what we want to do with them as arise. This state of happy it happened but sad it’s over.  It’s so easy to avoid these emotions, to distance ourselves from any given event, to deny the permanence of forward leaping time but the moment will come nonetheless.

There is something beautiful about these ephemeral things. Would clouds be as wonderous if they never changed shape, or snowflake as magnificent if they didn’t melt when landing on your skin? We can appreciate them because we know what it was like before we had them and eventually learn what it’s like when they are gone.

It takes a lot of courage to face these moments head-on, to recognize there will be an end and keep going through the heartache that is likely to come.  A beautiful pain built on the temporary, with each person having to decide whether or not it was worth it in the end.

It’s only in accepting these feelings that we grow and change as people. If we try to hold to something long gone our knuckles will turn white by grasping at air and dust.  It’s not to forget but appreciate that sometimes some things have to end even if we aren’t ready. It’s death and disappearance,  two things we fight so hard against, are inevitable, but in learning to embrace them we glimpse the beautiful bittersweet appreciation of what can happen after.

A Hope Of Falling Into Wakefulness

A place between sleep and wakefulness, like a walking daydream, nothing seems real enough to shudder me into existence but not outlandish enough to constitute the believability of a dream.  Like a forced existence or conscious stasis, I am yearning for something to animate me once again.

It’s a chronic problem, this apathy for the reality that makes me wander off into different places looking for something I can’t find within myself, interest.  Sometimes I find it in the strangest places, traveling like Alice down the rabbit hole wondering how far I can go before I wake up.

It’s because of that I consider myself a hobbyist.  In the way that I collect hobbies: cooking, baking, folding paper, sewing, drawing, and writing.  It’s all seated in the desire to learn new things. It’s the dabbling, understanding just enough to allow me a peek into a different world that I enjoy. The craving of seeing the world slightly differently than before. A strange addiction to expanding my perspective, one that seems at least on the surface never to run out. It keeps me around at least for a little while, before it’s not enough and a fall back into this place.

I think that’s why I also like the stress of deadlines, it feels somewhat more like I am alive. It’s a bad habit to rely on to keep me going, but it works.  The stress pushes me to move and keeps me awake long enough to feel conscious again.

To be honest, it always feels as if I just falling through the sky, wind brushing past, but the ground never coming. Like a continual stasis, like I could close my eyes and float forever. I wonder what will wake me from this recurrent waking dream and bring me to life once again. What will keep me grounded, and aware What will bring me back home.

 

Aimless

 

 

There has been this growing feeling of unease inside me, these past couple months have felt different than all those years before.  Something has shifted, aside from the accident and the mourning, it feels like something is missing.  This precious fuel source that drove me wild with want and need after all these years seemed to just dissipate after the accident.  Like ease or contentment has made me run on empty, slowed down my gears, made it feel like the tin man whose run out of oil, frozen. I had started to believe it was all because of these changes, but I realize there is something more going on.

Like a person in a field told to throw a ball at a target he can’t see, how can you possibly move forward in a meaningful way if you don’t know where you’re going? I realized recently that I’ve spent so much time on the goal of getting into a Ph.D. program that now that I am there, I have felt a bit aimless. I mean other than the small goals I have what else is driving me forward?

I need to reassess where I am and what I am doing. I have other wants and dreams, but they are much less clear to me. Like my desire to become a professor at a university and do research, but what type of university and where? Or how I want my life to look like after these five short and long years.

With no clear direction, how can I shoot for what I want?

I’ve spent time meditating over this, this idea of what I want and need out of life.  I asked the world to give me something reflect on, to show me the path and listened. Through my experiences, I was given the answer I was looking for.

First, I listened to a man speak about teaching, with much wonder and zeal.  He spoke of giving kids a chance to learn, believing in their ability to become greater than what they initially thought. That resonated with me, gave me a piece of that want I was so looking for.

Second I found myself to words of those around me speaking out about all these opportunities to work beyond the walls of research and educations. The ability to have rhythm and rhyme set by a schedule every day of the week.  These words tied knots in my stomach making me realize that a least, for now, it was not for me.

Lastly, I found myself talking so pleasantly with others about all these questions we still have left in the world, and I become excited and energized about the possibility of answering them. Finding those truths that will enlighten those who need them has always been the thing that empowers me most.

In the end, I did not come away with a clear goal but at least an idea of what I want.

I want to work in academia, researching people and technology. I want to get the chance to teach the next generation and give my passion for the subject to all those who listen. I want to be able to live life flexibly, throwing myself into my project with no time or place needed to contain me.

I wrote smaller goals to myself in place I will always be reminded, knowing full well things will change as time goes on, but for now I have a direction. A target. A place that all the world wants me to go.

March Towards Matriculations – Ninth March – A Stumble With The Starter Pistol

“Not as I imagined it” is what I thought getting on the plane to fly to my new home “This isn’t exactly as picturesque as it is in the movies.”

The morning was rough, waking up to the question “Hey, it’s 6am, aren’t we suppose to already be at the airport?”.  From that moment forward, my body was tensed, my head went into a panic, and I moved as faster than I even knew I could. Grabbing everything I could think of and shoving them into the last bag as my sister started carrying my suitcases out to the car.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way, sure I knew would have been sleep deprived, but by the time I was on the road to the airport, my whole body felt like acid was poured my muscles as the tenseness tore at my soul. Thankfully, I had gotten there at the right moment, any later and I would have missed my flight. It’s an unusual thing when they are calling your name over the intercom, and from my youth of running away from my mother in the store, I knew it is never a good thing. But I did it, got on my plane with my last moments of home being a brief glance into the beautiful California Sunrise before entering the plane and taking off.

You might ask, why did this happen? Well, I have been spending the last several weeks trying to meet and hang out with as many people as possible.  Pressing every last ounce of these experiences, I can’t readily export to my new home into my memory, hoping I store enough of it up to give me strength in my journey across the country. This all culminated in a party last night, where people from all across the different stages of my life convened for the first time. People from childhood, high school, college, and graduate school all showed up and mingled. It’s hard playing host to these events because I want to spend so much time with each an every one of them, but my attention is split and torn between all conversations and friend circled around. It was nice though to see the common thread between all of them. They are just good people. People who are fun to be around, who love stories and conversation. Who are polite but opinionated. Who are delightful, intelligent, and capable in their own ways.

As you might understand, if I have all these great people around me, I would never want the night to end. So it went on, but as the clocked ticked by slowly each and every one of them trickled out of the party, going home to their soft comfortable beds. I could have called it earlier, my alarm was to be set for 4:30am regardless of what time I went to bed, but I didn’t. How am I suppose to say no to being with all these people in my life whom I love?  It was almost scripted, each person leaving one after the other, giving me time to say goodbye to each one of them individually. It was sad, but I love them, and part of them will always be with me. Promises I intend to keep were made, but one thing was for sure, something was at its end.

I think that’s why getting to the house I am going to be living in the next year was so hard. Everything finally became real. This hiatus on my emotions dealing with this change have finally begun to move again. Pardon my French, but this scared the shit out of me. I had this feeling before, when before I chose not to leave for San Jose State right out of high school. This impending doom that feels like someone has their hand wrapped tightly around my heart. A tenseness that feels like life itself is trying to squeeze the years out of me. It’s an anxiety that took me aback as I was setting things up in my new home. Even with this feeling of wanting to run back home, I know I must live here and face it. This is because the possibilities moving forward are too great to pass up without eternal regret following me. Tomorrow will be easier, and same with the next, I just have to get through it.

But it’s important to remember, I am not going to be gone forever, just for a little while. Well, for 5 years actually. I’m not dying though, and since I can’t imagine the people I love not being in my life, I will continue forward any way I know how. It will be a lot of effort, but I’m a hard worker and expending effort it what I do. Though it was a rough start to this grand adventure, doesn’t mean I won’t get through the race. I will keep moving forward with the strength of those around me like the wind at my back. I am greedy so I will keep those friends whom I have while trying to make more.

It’s not goodbye forever, just goodbye for now. There are more memories to be made, and more people to meet, but I’m glad I at least had these final moments with my friends and family up until the very end.

March Towards Matriculation: Seventh March – Numbered Steps

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Numbered days and long nights, I push forward trying to squeeze in what I can into these finite moments before I leave. Things are real now, wanting me to act soon, start to pack away the memory of these two years I’ve accumulated that have manifested themselves into physical objects on my desk.  I don’t know where to start, not because I haven’t moved before but my heart wishes that I could pack up things up so subtly that I don’t even notice the boxes piling up in my room.

I delay, find a distraction, like a child foolheartedly trying to keep their parents from knowing its time for them to go to bed. Time will come eventually and me shying away from this only takes away from the time I could utilize for other things. I keep a careful watch on the time because it seems to be sprinting from me, losing minutes, hours, and even days to the ever-increasing current that is my departure.

I’ve been busy, making my steps count in a way that both tires me out and uplifts me at the same time. I’ve been fortunate in having the opportunity to see those around me with their busy lives take the time to meet with me to send me off with a fond farewell.  It’s hard to try to synthesize all that needs to be said for closure. It feels like when you have your favorite meal in front of you, knowing full well you won’t be eating it for a while,  so bite after bite you try to savor the taste of hoping it sticks with you and fills that craving you might have in the future.

I don’t think it makes me sad to think about these things, it’s more just a reality. I am leaving to grasp the opportunity which I had been working towards for a while. I think what I’m most troubling is that I fear that with me leaving I will be as warm handprint on a cold rainy window, doom to fade into memory until there is nothing left.

March Towards Matriculation – Fifth March – Finding My Footing

Undoubtedly a great experience, filled with fear, adventure, and a promise for tomorrow. It’s when staring down our future all we can do is lean in and work for a better tomorrow today.

I am thankful that with an easing of the semester, I see a building of excitement for the future life I worked so hard to achieve. There was a worry several months back that these feelings would never manifest but thankfully now that that school been made more tangible to me there is now a place to link my hope and excitement.  It’s a weird experience having committed myself to a place for so long without the knowledge of what life there is like. I knew that my ambitions called for me to take such a leap, especially with the recent accident that held me up for so long.  It’s the faith that I’m happy with, faith in a type of plan or destiny that at times I so despise. Faith in fate as it were that everything would turn out okay. Now for most things, I knew I would make it work regardless of what happened and where I ended up, and I cannot discount that someplace were always better than others but there is an easing of grief and burden when you find that you at least made the choice that will come easy and is right.

I find great difficulty expressing the feeling that comes with this knowledge. It’s analogous to putting everything on the table you’re holding a hand you hope will win, knowing full well that where we end up is some part skill and another part luck but as the last card falls and the final bets are made you realize that the round has gone to you. That you played well and you are being rewarded. This is because there is something beyond the statues and stone halls, the concrete and the history; there is an ease in it all, one that does not come lightly with every place we find ourselves.  Am I scared, of course, I am terrified beyond belief, but in this fear I can thrive, in this transition lies a future of growth, change, and understanding one I am ready to make of.

It’s then in this last trip to my future home, where I got to see the people and place that my forward path lies that I find myself excited for what is to come. I know there is so much more for me to learn from these places and people that it scares me. I decided though, that this time around I must approach it with a greater humility and understanding that I am to be guided, molded, and shaped into a better version of myself. It’s only though this great humility that I can be successful. It’s in this great humility that I can absorb, adapt, and prosper beyond where I know is possible now. I leave this saying that I am thrilled with the prospect of the future, but torn with how to feel about how soon it will come.

March Toward Matriculation: Fourth March – Busied Steps On A Windward Path

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It always happens, when the time finally frees up all of a sudden I get busier than before.  Maybe it’s a miscalculation on my part with the amount of work that I’m doing, but Summer and Winter seem to be those times of the year where everything starts to move again.

The problem being it’s a lot like triage, where I have to figure out where the priority should be and what I should be working on any given day. Like trudging through snow, every step is labored, and all I wish I could do is sit down with a sweet drink and relax for a little while.
Progress is slow, but progress is still progress. I mean not to put off anyone, but this is what I get for being so involved, people rely on you to get stuff done. People keep telling I should take a break and disconnect for a while. That’s not my destiny, though, nor should it be.  Work is part of who I am, regardless of what I am doing at least I am doing something.  There is a fear though that with all this marching that I am going to burn out before I even make it. I don’t know honestly, I haven’t really burned out before, but I’ve gotten that nagging feeling where my muscles become tense my brain grows dull from the lack of extracurricular stimulation.

I don’t know if I can reasonably disconnect, it’s been such a long time since I’ve done so. I presume it would take a lot to distract me from the comings and goings of the world back home with unfounded anxiety burrowing into my brain causing me to become preoccupied with things I can’t even control.

Right now the days might be getting longer, but they feel like they’re all too short.  It’s only a couple months away from me being gone in some far off place that is more indifferent to my arrival, and yet I still feel like in the thick of home still drawing me in.

I wonder when these bonds will loosen, it could be when I start to finish things, and perhaps that’s why I’m having such a hard time doing so.

 

A Return To Sleeping Beauty

Like a pick of the finger,
Or the poisoning of blood.
My body feels like it’s crawling through mud.

My eyes feel heavy.
My soul feels crossed.
Why is it that I feel so lost?

It’s in these moments,
When sleep is never enough
It’s falling into dreaming, and never wanting to wake up.

I fall, I fall far into sleep.
Wondering where it is that my feelings will peak.

Down down, to that place of slumber
Like something has torn my body asunder.

It’s not even that I am hurt.
It’s not because I am diseased
My only problem is that my heart is not pleased.

Nothing seems to smell so sweet.
And nothing at all can compel me to my feet.

And yet I recollect on the past and present
Twisting and turning in ways not so pleasant

So I call to you oh sleeping beauty
Is it not the perilous prick that put you down
Or is it the tumultuous feelings about the crown?

Maybe if I just sleep a little bit more
The clouds will change
And this feeling be no more.

Yeah if I sleep a little bit more
Perhaps there will be a reason to wake up for.

March Towards Matriculation – Second March – To March Forward and Look Back

Over the last several weeks I’ve been working towards a degree, a degree which I have spent the better part of the previous two years working to obtain. Through a lot of long sleepless night, stresses, and work I have at least on paper achieved this goal, a Masters degree. It was in looking back though, I find I do not feel satisfied or proud of my ”accomplishments.”

Hindsight is 20/20 but to see clearly is not always a blessing. It was in recollecting in what I have done, the research I proposed that an unsettling feeling set in.  An abject look as the lack of importance or substance to the projects I have creates and carried out.  They seem silly, so unimportant on the grand scale that the rationale for why these things seemed so important to carry precedence in my life has fallen away.  What I am left with is aa lesson in humility and a detailing of a path forward which I will need to change if I want to avoid an unsatisfying future.

To be honest, I feel like a child, but not even a child, like teenage who still engaged in making bad decisions but at least has the wherewithal to understand that these decisions were bad in the first place.  At least a child will give into the silliness, not allow it to bother him, still able to go through life unlimited by the ramifications of the action. It’s in knowing myself and seeing this reflection for the first time that pains me. What have I been doing? Is there anything I should really be proud of at this moment. There is a culmination of experience but with this experience what I see is what I am lacking. I have underestimated the science and overestimated my understanding of it, to which I apologize to the craft.

It’s fear and frustration that fills me. Seeing where I could be if I had been more diligent or had more self-awareness. I see this self, one I seek to avoid, an expert of a craft but a wasted talent doomed to settle for obscurity. It’s so clear to me but each year that passes the path thins, to that of an edge of a knife, which to be had will require adjustment early and swift or throw myself down upon it as the cost of dreaming.

I see the path ahead, the choices and growth reflected behind me. My future is bright, and here I stand on the lessons of yesterday, not wasted but reflected in my journey. As I learn I find I know less and realize more that there is a long way to go. In growing through these experiences, I know what I want, how to get it, and not it’s up to me to make the change to do it.

Let’s Go To The Stone Age: A Slight Digression Because Of Internet Problems

Originally I was going to do a slight digression from my more moody posts to talk about the fact I have gotten back into reading more but before I got to crafting said post my Internet died. Now I know that the period of time that I was writing was a bit later than when I usually do, and maybe this is just some sick sense of universal karma here to exact it’s revenge for not writing sooner but I think more just highlights how reliant I am on the internet. Without it, I twiddle my thumbs and play that silly dinosaur game on chrome hoping for the Internet to return.

It’s in that I find this reflection of me in the empty

screen somewhat humorous, this 21st century man who is simply stopped by a technology that has been birthed within the last 50 years. I mean there are millennia before this amazing invention and my ancestors did just fine on their own for me to have made it this far.

What is there to do except think of a world where the Internet just disappeared, where technology reduced itself to that of the Stone Age and for us to start all over. How would people manage? How would I manage? Let’s be honest, my training in Psychology doesn’t exactly make me the most useful person in the skills department. I am pretty scrappy, and easy on the uptake but it’s that first part I would really need to get through, when everyone is scrambling around trying to figure things out. Maybe I’ll be drafted into a tribe, never really been part of those before, or maybe I’ll just be a lone wanderer, going from settlement to settlement trying to looking for my true home out there in the post-internet wastes.

But back to the point, I think this also a lesson in humility, that my life is so reliant on these tools to work that I am pushed to this standstill without it. I don’t know if this is a good lesson at the end of the day or one that I should just get more reliable Internet but it’s a lesson just the same.

Maybe I should take this time away from my devices and allow myself to really delve back into my imagination. Create something unaided with my mind as the only resource. It always feels good to be able to imagine different worlds and scenarios, something pure from all of the muses I have come across in my lifetime. What do I have time for though, will I just drop it once it becomes inconvenient to continue because my technologies have come back online? I mean I still do have work to do, so maybe I won’t go too deep or I might just never find a reason to come back out.

What can I say though; I have become accustomed to these conveniences so that not having them just feels strange. Maybe it’s okay to rely on these things because they are so cool. What I think to leave you with during this unexpected posts is that if there is a will there is a way so there are really no excuses unless you really have put yourself out there and tried everything… or maybe that’s the lack of internet talking.