Thursday, July 25, 2013

Change of Mind

Two weeks ago I was atop a beautiful horse named Pistol, trailblazing a scenic mountain in Carbondale, Colorado. My two young guides were telling me their dreams of marrying ranchers and working with horses for the rest of their lives.

Today, I maneuvered my Prius around scooters, old men on bikes, and a billion other cars bustling around the streets of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The first few days I was back, my driving skills had noticeably gone rusty - having suppressed my driving instincts for the month I was gone in the States for fear of getting flipped off by drivers unaccustomed to my "moves". I had a few surges of adrenaline and heart pounding episodes as my brakes squealed and I avoided, you know, hitting people.  A week and countless errands later, I've regained my deft movements and finesse on the road.

Here's the thing: human beings are unbelievably remarkable at adapting. Sure, the jarring cultural dissonance knocks the wind out of me at times, and the process of acclimating to a seemingly upside down society requires breadth of time and energy, but we as a species come equipped with an astounding resilience to confront change. For evidence, look to stories of immigrants who uproot families and transplant their way of life to foreign lands.

Why then, within the world of ideas, religion, and faith, is there such a pervasive fear of change? This fear manifests itself in comments like:

"Oh, that'll take you down the slippery slope," and
"Don't blow with the prevailing cultural winds of today"

or sentiments which seem to suggest faithfulness equate a heel grinding resolve to maintain a certain position. Sometimes I feel like, in some circles, to change your mind is tantamount to the worst offense - a breach of integrity, weakness of faith, and the dirty word: compromise.

This is not to say our current generation doesn't have a problem with perseverance and commitment - I think we do (I know I do). It's just this phenomenon of vilifying change which is a bit troubling. Because it seems to me, a thoughtful awareness of the shifting societal landscape inevitably leads to a change in the way we relate to ourselves, to others, and to God.

Not all change leads to compromise. Sometimes the slippery slope doesn't end in the fiery pits of hell. Perhaps conversion is a life long journey of turns and turn-arounds. It's not always a bad thing to change our minds, even on important issues of faith. Like my close calls in the traffic of Taiwan, sometimes change is required to avoid, you know, hitting people.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Inbox Me

Yesterday I got my bangs trimmed.  Is the upkeeping of bangs not the most annoying chore ever? Every. Three. Weeks. Anyway, I looked pretty cute if I may say so myself, of course I narcissistically go to instagram myself. Did you know the rear facing camera on the iphone is much lower quality than the front facing one?

*Click* Freckles too prominent. *Delete*

*Click* Eyes asymmetrical. *Delete*

*Click* Double Chin. *Delete* Give up with a tremendous sense of lowered self esteem.

This was when I came to the realization of the ridiculousness that is this life. "I want to be informed immediately when Cindy gets her bangs trimmed with a super cute picture of herself!" said no one ever. When every mundane moment of the day is interrupted by an inexplicable mental urge to share, post, think of a witty status, reach for the phone - it's too much.

I'm walking away. Time to unplug. Internet fast. I'm spending time in nature to restore Zen.

Bwahahahaha.  That was funny, huh?!

You see, despite all the wise (they really are) people on the internet (irony) warning against oversaturation of the electronics, of not paying enough attention to the children (Mommy guilt, anyone?), of increasing levels of narcissism brought by the age of social media (point taken) - I cannot walk away.

Years of being brought up in a religious community has taught me you can be made to feel guilty of just about anything. As important as it is for me to be humble enough to listen to voices of reason and critique, I also need to remain true to who I am. And who I am is a woman who longs to be connected with others. and online is the way to do it these days. I am passionate about learning new things so the Information Age feels like the generation I was meant to belong to. I am fast paced so the instant feedback of the web pushes all the right buttons to power me up each day.

Lastly but not leastly, internet memes, hilarious "ship my pants" youtube videos, heartwarming puppy pics, live streaming of the daily show - can't live without them.  Just sayin'. Also, I am that person who would really like to see an updated post of my friend (even acquaintance) with their cute bangs. #cutebangs #AustraliansSayFringe #socute

However, in the last year or so, I have slowly shifted my activity online to the Inbox rather than the public sphere. It's all because of the Bad Experience. I'm sure you've had the Bad Experience. It was when I decided to post something which although was very important and close to my heart was also very controversial on my public wall. The debates which ensued between my conservative and liberal friends (the word $sshole was brought up) made me feel very Bad indeed. Friends of the facebook variety came out of the woodwork telling me I'm not a good human being, which made me ball up in a corner and weep. Since the Bad Experience, I don't do that anymore. I decided anything that is important and close to my heart is only worthy of sharing with True Friends who won't be mean to me.

I still slip up sometimes.  The other day someone was very wrong on the internet and I was raging. My husband warned me, "Cindy, just ignore them", and as I nodded to his wise advice inside my head I was scripting the quip I was going to post.  And I kid you not, in the very next moment I typed and sent it off into cyberspace.

*Click* Major facebook remorse. *Delete*

Ladies and gentleman, I don't want to repeat the Bad Experience, so next time you want to connect?

Inbox me.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens,

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to eat out and a time to order in,
a time to dress fancy and a time to go casual,
a time to learn and a time to veg,
a time to ROFL and a time to :'(

There's a time to post links, status updates, tweet, pin, and a time to lurk,
a time to write blogs (or stupid poems), and a time to read (like, a real book),
a time to laugh at silly cat memes and a time to sober up by serious famous people quote memes,
a time to #hashtag and a time to @MomandDad,

a time to exercise outdoors and a time to kinect dance,
a time to travel and a time to stay home (but still stay really busy doing crap around the house).

There's a time for self destructive overcommitment and a time for boredom,
a time for fulfilling, meaningful work and a time for a break,
a time for dreaming big dreams and a time for dream-less stasis,
a time to party and a time to mope,

a time for disgruntled frustration and a time for pure contentment,
a time for cynicism and a time for naiveté,
a time for critique and a time for indifference
a time for motivation and a time for reflection.

I love when the Bible says:  y'all, it's all good.