Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

I have always considered myself a very logical and rational person.  In fact I have prided myself on it.
I think my ideal state might actually be Vulcan.

I remember going to a funeral in support of a work colleague who's baby had died unexpectedly.  I was in the car with 3 other colleagues, and I said something to effect of "I think I am a cold person".  I was contemplating how I often find I am not as emotional or upset as a situation seems to warrant.  I actually have a little trick I employ to keep from crying - I do math in my head.  It's amazing how multiplication tables can stave off tears.

So this being my Modus Operendi - I have been a little taken aback this week as I have come to the  realization that I am ruled by my emotions just as much as the next guy, in a very surprising way.

I noticed how I allow the way I feel about something to drive me to believe that thing is true, and find "evidence" to support that feeling of truth. 

For example when I wake-up feeling like I look good today.  Somehow on those days my clothes fit a little bit looser, my teeth seem a little bit whiter, and my hair seems a little bit less unruly.  If I wake-up the very next day feeling unpretty - my clothes feel tight, I often say I feel like I look like a sausage stuffed into a casing on days like that.
In reality, it's unreasonable to believe that the girth of my figure or the whiteness of my teeth can perceptibly change from a single day to the very next day.  Now the frizz in my hair...that's a whole other story.

This holds true for more than just my appearance.  It somehow manages to effect my intelligence as well.  Do you ever have days when you just feel dumb.  On those days I somehow seem to loose a large percentage of my vocabulary, ability to do simple mathematical tasks like split a bill or figure out a tip, and blank out on trivia knowledge I would normally have at the tip of my tongue.

What I haven't yet put my finger on is what sparks my emotional condition on any given day.  Is it like a bowel movement, predicated on whatever I consumed emotionally 8 hours earlier?  Maybe it's all driven by whatever I dream about.  I never remember my dreams, so this possibility certainly makes it more difficult to control.  And there in lies the rub - because without understanding what sparks emotions, how can we work to drive different emotions.

I guess the real power lies in not changing your emotions, but acknowledging them, and behaving as if they weren't there.  Which bring us back full circle to the mertis of being Vulcan.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Seven Year Itch

It's been 7 years, well in November it'll be 7. 
And in truth, I've been very happy. 
Well, ok, I've started taking it for granted. 
I don't feel that same rush of excitement I used to feel at every look, every drive.  My pride of ownership has diminished. 

And lately my eye has started to wander.
I never thought it would happen to me, and I really have no legitimate reasons to be discontent....
When I signed the contract, I made this commitment for the life of my vehicle - and it's been a very very good car to me.

Ever since I caught my first glimpse of the new Nissan Juke - I can't stop looking.
I don't know why I am so enamoured - but man did I fall hard.

My grandmother always said "love is blind, and lovers can not see" -  I never considered how that extended outside of romantic love.
I don't know a thing about the Juke - no ideas about it's safety rating, fuel efficiency, repair history, resale value - not even how it drives. 
I have completely lost my heart over the superficial appearance of it.

And my mom is shockingly not helping.  My naturally frugal mother, when I told her I really like the new Juke and find myself thinking about buying one more and more often actually encouraged me to go for it!
Who are you, and what have you done with my mother?!?

If this is what marriage is like, oh boy am I in trouble!  No wonder people lease instead of buy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I used to be Opposed to Gay Marriage....

It's true.

Not because I was on some tyrannical rampage to eradicate the LGBT community, or out of some homophobic fear.  My opposition was never aligned to the limiting of human rights or civil liberties.

I had a hard time with sharing the word marriage. 

I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine around the time when same-sex marriage became legal in Canada.  Probably not unlike how the recent political conversations around the same issue have brought it to the forefront for many Americans these days.  I said to my friend (I can't actually remember who it was I was speaking to) that I would have felt so much more comfortable if the government had chosen to call it something else.  I didn't actually have any issues with the mutual rights, respect or privileges, just the name.

I feel like marriage is a specific religiously defined and culturally adopted institution, but because it remains at it's core a spiritual union - I had a hard time sharing the name.

But the reality is that a percentage of the people who get married, heterosexual marriage - do not necessarily consider it a spiritual union.  I would guess it's a rather large percentage (but I am only guessing based on limited anecdotal information).  So we don't use the word marriage to mean what it was originally defined to mean.  Nobody's ever put a stink up about that.  I never complained or even considered it a problem when it was an opposite sex couple. 

So if we've adopted a relatively civil and non-religious definition of marriage, then what is the issue with once again changing or expanding that civil definition. 

Now before any of my religious friends jump in to disagree - consider that I am talking about a civil definition.  For those of us who recognize or engage marriage under it's religious definition, we do so in parallel with it's civil definition (hence a marriage license).  But not everyone who gets married embraces both definitions.  We've been making a logical thinking error - it's called the "Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent"

Here's the sad part we have neglected to focus on.  In being exclusionary we've actually been oppressing others.  Where's the love in that?  In the Bible Jesus tell us that the greatest commandment is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind: and love your neighbour as yourself."  If love is the greatest commandment - how is our deciding that one group of people (no matter what criteria we use to identify the "in group") should be treated better or deserve more rights than another.

Furthermore, we're all equally eternally damned up-front, because relationship with God, and eternal life is not something we have the ability to earn.  It's a gift freely given, and open to be received by all.  Once received, this gift does not equal to perfection or perfect living...and we all continue to struggle through this "mortal toil".

So again, I ask - what right do we have to condemn another?!?!

We live in a world where unspeakable atrocities occur daily.  Children are forced to kill others as soldiers, serve as prostitutes or slaves, die of diseases or starvation.  The majority of the world's population lives in poverty, with limited access to clean drinking water or food.  With no opportunities to be educated or build a better future.....

Imagine the world we could live in, if we choose to focus our energy, individually and collectively on speaking out against injustice and famine and other atrocities.  That conversation is what should be at the forefront these days.....