Sometimes you want to be able to be cool with people, even when you don't like them. I guess I see doing this as a humbling act, learning to work an get along with different people. I guess we can choose who we want to be associated with in the end without causing conflict.
I feel this is a lot like how people think about me as well.
I say it twice because I look back and reflect on what I participated in while I attended SJSU...
Alpha Kappa Omega Fraternity and Campus Crusade for Christ... Both have blown up and have huge followings and events that we dreamed of when I was active along with my brothers and sisters in both organizations.
Last night I visit the 8th annual Root Beer Kegger at the Crusade house and it has exploded from when we first started it. I was disappointed to find that there was Thomas Kemper and not BJ's Root Beer, but hey that wasnt what put a smile on my face and excitement in my heart. I saw our once 75ish people event explode into a few hundred attenders. One keg of RB to 6 kegs of RB. Music from speakers to a live band; too bad the neighbors called the police so we could have them play; but still the fact that it has turned out so many people and seeing the new population and once freshmen I knew now Seniors from 3 years ago. It was nice to see that our pizza wall was still full and posted on the walls of the stairs from 5 years ago in the Crusade house. Thanks Little Caesar's for the $6 deep dish pepperoni pizza.
I heard that the Thursday night chapel was replaced with our activities and still hanging out at the house to the wee hours in the morning. Sunday Nights have the guest speakers now and I heard that there was 2 couples on staff for SJSU, that really what we needed many years ago and its good to see that action in place.
My Brothers, new and old, still strong and kicking from AKOmega. The family that taught me so much about myself and my flaws, and still continue too. I see the numbers jump, as my alpha class number 8 seems so long ago from the now 70 strong from Beta Chapter alone. The welcome and tightness of this group never fails and has always and will always be present in my life as well as all the brothers as we continue to help our family grow years after we have left the college scene, but I wish I was a freshmen again to do it all over. From La Salsa Classic to Perpetratin to Triple Treat DJ's coming out or being performed or competing, we have found many great memories that we all can share as time goes on. 2001 Spring will be a time that will forever be engraved in my life and attitude as I was formed into a more multifaceted individual that shined brightly in the name of Courage, my family.
So much excitement so not to long ago, but DAMN WHAT AN EXPLOSION!
More than anything I think we all love freedom. I think we all can agree that having freedom is something we cherish if we are fortunate enough to have it, and if not something we hope and dream about possessing. Holding the ability to choose, do, feel, and express our emotions, opinions, and ideas regardless of self origin or under persecution is priceless and fought for constantly throughout the world and all through history. Because we are all unique and live accordingly to how we choose, if there is such a thing, we should be able to control to a certain extent of the out come of our lives. Putting aside tragic accidents and unfortunate events of life, I feel we have peace of mind if we have some control over what we choose to become and what path we choose to walk. I honestly feel perplexed and disoriented in life because of my faith, which says that we all have free will choose how to live our lives.
Being Christian and passionate about what I believe is something that holds me to stand firm and walk the path of life laid before me. I follow to the best of my ability the things that Christ laid before me in my daily actions; striving through the hardships of life with perseverance, focus, practice and persistence to evolve and become a more capable individual while growing in my relationship with Christ. Despite my short comings and failures, more abundant and countless, I am reminded that I am not perfect nor will I achieve perfection. I find myself constantly learning through my failures and discovering more and more about myself and life. I reflect upon my actions, both good and bad, pulling out what I can to do to improve myself, but not just for myself or for God, but for society and those around me that I directly influence.
I choose to do as I see correct and fair in my own eyes, remember the wisdom I have gain from personal experience and my studies of the bible. I remember that it is not the literal translations or memories that are important to put forward, but the heart and love that expressed through actions when it comes time to make a choice. To be humble in times of trials and grateful in times of wealth are not easy to express or remember. Getting caught up in a moment is something that common everyday and choosing our decisions carefully and making sense of what is going on around us at all times helps us to exercise our knowledge, which is wisdom. This wisdom will help us to achieve our aspirations and goals as we discover what we really want or see from life.
Choosing is an expression of freedom, but freedom is the ability to choose to express. To act in accordance of our desires, wants, and needs is something that can feel restricted at times. Taking into account of those around us as well as the outcome or consequences of our actions can then limit our ability to choose freely, thus limiting our freedom. Remembering principles we are to follow is usually meant to be protective or the “best for us.” I speak of sin and the action of sinning; it is always not so clear and cut or black and white. In fact I think it is fair to say there stands a huge grey area at times.
We don’t always want to follow the law, and sometimes like to take it into our own hands. We naturally like to “do as we please,” breaking our own rules and guidelines we set up for ourselves. Whether they are personal, spiritual, or religious, we sometimes feel limitations to our freedom, thus impacting our free will. Limitations that we put before ourselves meant to prevent damage or give security to our lives - good in principle - however if breaking them for purpose leaves guilt, these rules and guidelines then become questionable. What was once an absolute, becomes questionable whether we want to continue to “put our foot down” or choose step over the line. It is unsettling.
If something is already set and decided in a plan, does it matter how the ending arrives or is there an alternate finish line? This is a second unsettling mindset. Logically we can express that we can change a direction, path, line, goal, etc... By my faith I feel that God has set forth a plan and predestined the outcome of what He has put into motion. This in turn brings an unsettling mindset as predestination negates the fact of freedom of choice, or free will as a whole if a there is only one “hole for the ball to fall into.” Meaning that despite all actions, somehow or someway all things will end up the same in the end.
These two subjects: freewill and predestination are full of discussion and controversy within the Christian faith. I like to tell people I don’t like to talk about it as it usually results disagreement, upsetting emotions, or hurt feelings. It is something that I struggle with a lot as I think about what I believe. I like to think I have control over my own life and can choose to do “what is best” given circumstances at any given time, despite it going against my range of “protective walls” or restrictions. I like to do what is fair and just, but realize this: “Who am I to decide what is fair and just or anyone for that matter?” I want to make a decision freely and without something being decided before hand. I like to know that I was the one that made my choice and not an outside influence acting upon me or through me. I like to know I truly have free will at all.
Ironically, questioning what I believe has grown my faith to help me stand solid and know what I believe to be truth. Despite the many loopholes and logical fallacies within religion or faith, it is so true for me to remember this: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
I am also reminded that: "Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial.
I’ve often thought about what I would do, say, or write about if I knew my life was going to end. Not that I’m planning on it ending, but the fact that I’m going skydiving does imply I’m taunting death. I’ve often wondered about what it would be like to know that you’re going to die and then what actions would I take. Would I produce a bucket list or go on living life the way I had been, not changing anything? I’ve often felt that I don’t think I would do anything differently if I knew I had a limited amount of time left. What is the point to experience something if you can’t cherish it? It would be like a short lived celebration and then have it taken away; however having experienced something is better than to have not experienced anything.
I’ve always have wanted to go skydiving ever since I was a kid, and more so as I grew older. The funny thing is that most people in my family are too conservative, minus my brother, and are too afraid to take any real risks. Having uncertainty in life is what makes it great and risk taking is part of that uncertainty. Sure I could play life safe and be conservative and do what is “the best decision” for being safe and sound, but why would I want to live a boring and predictable life. If I could pretty much control the outcome of my decisions to always be positive and protective, I would be living in a shell and miss out on so much. “It is better to live life risking everything, than to live life and risk nothing.”
I like that last quote, but I guess I miss the point of it as I take it to the extreme and risk a whole lot all the time. It is really saying, “Take some risks in life,” as I have interrupted in my more sane consciousness. To me stacking the odds against yourself knowing that you’re most likely to fail or get burned with a slight chance of victory or glory is worth taking. It seems irrational, stupid, and foolhardy to risk anything with the odds stacked against you so high, but the reward of the experience to do so is well worth it. To achieve something that someone might say is “Million-to-one odds,” is something that is more fulfilling than a million “safe plays” in my opinion. Anyone can live in a shell, some can live around it, yet it takes a measure of character to leave the shell behind and venture into the wild.
Exploration of oneself is something that I love about life. Seeing how we can grow and mature by experience is often forgotten and only remembered during acute fractions of clarity, which originate from time to time during our lives. Don’t become overwhelmed, excited, or impulsive due to experiences; remember them for what they are and learn from them, and evolve your persona. Consistency is found in many parts of our life, but metamorphous is often forgotten due to our limited capacity to understand we have the ability to break free from our cocoon of everyday life and live out more. Much like the caterpillar that lives its life on the ground only seeing what is directly in front of it, until it marinates in a silky sleeping bag and then becoming airborne. We live grounded because we choose to. I have chosen to constantly metamorphosis so I too can experience the more than what is in front of me, like flying.
We are given multiple paths in life to follow much like the way a tree has roots, which has a trunk, which has limbs, which have branches, which have twigs, which has leaves. The roots are our foundation which allows us to grow our tree trunk; we can choose how many limbs, branches, twigs, and leaves to produce. We can choose to be like a giant redwood, or a tiny bonsai. We get to choose as we are given this freedom. It is a risk to be small and it is a risk to be gigantic. Each comes with its own benefits and consequences, failures and victories, and loves and heartbreaks. It is all dependent on where you choose to plant yourself. If we choose to plant ourselves in a desert, we become like a cactus; in a forest, like a tree; in a cave, like fungus; in the ocean, like seaweed. All are different and all are unique; most importantly, all have purpose.
Our environment can shape and mold us to who we are and what be become, but we are not plants; we can uproot and move a seven hour drive away or have way around the world if we need to. We do what is necessary to achieve what we want and set our eyes on. If we are growing in no particular direction, then nothing is necessary to guide us. If we have guidance, we have a goal in mind and then, and only then, we can choose to do what is necessary to cross the finish line. After enough trials, tribulations, and hardships are completed that draw a similar focus or purpose, dreams are realized and achieved. A dream achieve, if only even one in a lifetime, is a life well lived and thoroughly enjoyed. But all dreams are not to be achieved, and some are meant to be let go.
Disappointment is part of the overall function of life. “Without disappointment, victory wouldn’t taste so sweet and be so meaningful.” I think I heard something like that some time ago. If going through life without failing seems like a good thing, then do it. I pray for whoever goes far in life continuing to remain flawless, because failing once would be life crippling and enormously devastating. We as people are meant to fail, so that we might learn. Learning is the biggest part of life that is often seen as something that is “just a part of life.” Learning is what manipulates our character to what we are each day; the more learning, the more change, resulting in more manipulation. The ironic part is that we get set in our ways and behaviors as we feel this is what defines us with age; which is perfectly fine, but not for me. I like to continue to learn and become further manipulated.
“Manipulation – management or influencing skillfully, especially in an unfair manner;” since life is not fair, nor was it meant to be, we can omit the “especially in an unfair manner,” and are left with “management or influencing skillfully.” Kind of puts a ripple on that last number I shared, but it is crystal clear in the sense that failures develop management ability as well as influence us to have great skills in life. So it all works out in my bogus logical mannerisms. The goals that we accomplish or fail are due to both management and skills. See, manipulation in life is all fair and just, from a certain point of view. Yea I’m twisted in my thinking, but who isn’t?
It’s not all disappointment and it’s not about manipulating either, it’s more about contentment. To be able to see and feel contentment in all aspects of life is to be able to be full of humility. Being sad or happy are emotions, much like satisfaction and frustration, but contentment is a state of tranquility where emotions don’t play a role into our actions, but our mindset will always be influenced by our heart. Not to say we shouldn’t feel emotion, but not too become overwhelmed by the impact that it has on us. (Maybe I should be listening to myself) Overreaction is common, but like my grandma says, “Everything in moderation.” Something that I try to improve upon each day, and something I think we all can take to heart, whether it be emotional, financial, or physical; however I think love should not be in moderation, but in abundance.
Love, a driving fuel of life, encouragement and a sports drink that gives us the ability to push ourselves above and beyond what we ever thought imaginable. Well, maybe not a sports drink, but it is the biggest risk in my opinion much like doing some “deep water soloing.” (Deep water soloing is bouldering, free climbing without gear, over cliffs in the ocean, usually to crazy heights that make you pee on yourself. Yeah, it’s crazy! Crazy fun, that is.) I like to use the analogy of rock climbing to love as rock climbing helped me realize so much about life. Each route, or “problem” as climbers refer to them as, is unique, much like each loving relationship with a family member or significant other. The texture of the stone or wall is like the foundation on which love is built. Full of cracks, bumps, slopes, smooth areas, sharp points, and beauty are all part of the equation. The difficulty is based on how hard it is to climb; or in relationships, how much effort will it take in a given type of relationship.
Love is a problem, but not something meant to stump us. It is something we need to explore, mediate on, believe in, and devote ourselves to in order to achieve something awesome; ascension to top, thus finishing the climb. Each hold of the problem helps us get that much closer to our goal, but just like anything you do, do it because you love it, not just to get it done in life. Feel out and position yourself so that you can prepare yourself for the next move or motion. Understanding what and how to go about things is to first plan out how to reach our goals, just getting there isn’t always as easy as thinking about it. It requires energy you don’t have, it requires patience you don’t have, and it requires a mindset that sees perseverance and yearns for it. It is the perseverance that gives us the heart to go beyond what we see as possible and lets us grab that next hold. Sloper, crimp, jug, heel hook, or mantle are all holds and techniques, all unique, and some tougher than others, much like the stages of a relationship. Parents and children are probably the toughest love relationships, but I wouldn’t know; after that probably significant others. Nonetheless all different, all have different aspects of them.
There is only one way to become a better climber, or learn how to love in a deeper compassion and that is through experience. Experience requires risk, risk is scary, but isn’t love? To allow yourself to become vulnerable physically, mentally, or emotionally is not something we want to do, but is necessary. In order to experience anything, we are at some level of threat to our well being. The greater the threat, the greater the experience, the greater the wisdom gained; I like to view it. But what is all about love? What is climbing all about? It’s different for each person. We all have our own unique views on the things we enjoy doing and what it is about them that we enjoy so much. Whatever we do in life is much like that, the one thing that everything we do is connected to life itself. Life is the greatest risk.
Life is composed of any and every action, emotion, experience, and goal. We choose what we like or want to do. We risk what we are comfortable with. Some risk a lot, some risk a little. The greater the risk, the greater the cost, the greater the chance of devastation, the greater the reward if we succeed, but always guaranteed a greater experience and wisdom gained.
I encourage you to take risks. Love is one of them, yet living life is the greatest. Some call me crazy, but I like greater experiences.
“It is better to live life risking everything, than to live life and risk nothing.”