In the Name of Love

What overtakes us when we’re in love? What is this passion, this force that motivates us to set ourselves aside?

What you don’t understand is
I’d catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I’d jump in front of a train for ya
You know I’d do anything for ya
Read more: Bruno Mars – Grenade Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Last winter, after a ridiculous ice storm, I got out of my warm home for two reasons, both for love. Early that Saturday morning I went to watch my oldest son walk across the stage with the other college graduates. I wouldn’t have missed it. Zombie attacks, apocalypse, earthquakes, or whatever. I love that boy.

Later that day, and not a bit warmer, I stood in a line that wrapped around the corner and the along the side of The Brady Theater. A light drizzle of ice was falling, but my friends and I stood and waited and shivered. Why? Our favorite band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, was playing for the Rockin’ Christmas concert.

But I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door – Proclaimers

Passion motivates us to do many things. And you can’t fake it. I’ve tried to be passionate about things but there’s no life if there’s no love. No zest. It’s an internal motivation that can’t be bought or borrowed. Forcing yourself to complete a task you hate is necessary at times, but you won’t hurry up to do it again and the time spent doing it is draining. Exhausting. I’m currently reading a book called DO NOTHING. It’s a very Zen or Taoist concept. I’ve played with this notion for years as I’m sure you have too, but I think I understand it now. So I stop grasping at every loose end and unfinished task. Focus on what’s the most important and the tasks that are lead by my motivation. There are two questions that have stuck with me that I read a few years back in a time management book,

What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you up at night? These are your passions.

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One Foot in Front of the Other

English: Fog in Wayanad

No one looks at the middle. We see beginnings and we see endings, but it’s the stuff in the middle that really counts. Without the actual journey there would be no adventure. It’s the best part of the story. Yes, the warrior’s calling is exciting. The moment of realization, that mission to complete, gives you a burst of energy. And the promise of the happily ever after keeps us going. But we all know where the true tale is. The place in the middle. It reminds me of the classical poem, Ithaca.

When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
-K. P. Kavafis (C. P. Cavafy), translation by Rae Dalven

I have the bad habit of forgetting about the journey and just remembering the result that I want. Even thinking that I’ve messed up, when really I just need to keep walking. It’s difficult to recognize the path when you’re travelling. Obviously you know where you started. You gathered your supplies, you’ve gassed up your car, bought new tires and began your journey. You have your maps and your GPS programmed, so you know your destination. What about the middle? Stop at a rest stop? How do you know you’re still on the right path? That’s the moment I often panic. There’s a blank, somewhat boring, unscripted moment that comes after I’ve started. I look around at the scenery and don’t recognize any of it. Probably because I was sidetracked. I was off smelling the flowers and petting the dogs. I forget to set up mile markers for myself. Rest stops. Ah, but the flowers and the dogs are all part of my journey.

If the journey is the thing to enjoy, what would that look like? It’s not all about the destination. It’s not just about the rest stops and the progress markers. What does enjoying the journey look like? I do think I’ve missed the point in life. Life is in the living they say. If that’s the truth, then I want to know what it is that I’m missing. When you have a baby you certainly aren’t thinking about their end game. You enjoy the baby with the soft skin and chubby cheeks. Yes, there are dirty diapers, but we usually don’t dwell on them. We enjoy the process of them growing up. Is that the way it should look?

What about the Zen Buddhist way of thinking? They talk about experiencing the whole process. Not just the good but also the “bad.” Actually they teach not to label any of the experience. Don’t label anything as either good, bad, pretty or ugly. That’s difficult, but I think I understand. While a dirty diaper is unpleasant, it isn’t a bad thing that’s avoided. It’s part of a healthy digestive system. Sickness is unpleasant but it’s a part of life. An experience as much as childbirth.

So my journey, if it is long or slow, short or fast, will be my journey. It may include writing, flowers and petting puppies. If we catch up on the other side, when we finally make it out of this dark forest, I’ll listen to your journey and you can listen to mine. Good times! Check out I Walk.