Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In Love with Reality

A few days ago I was talking to an acquaintance. He asked me what my wildest dream was, if I could do/have one thing, what would it be?  I ventured a few dreams, but he kept turning them down.  He said it had to be something BIG, something fantastic that could never really happen in real life.

Call me short on imagination, but I couldn't think of one single dream that I didn't think had a chance of coming true.  When I explained this, he was surprised, then exclaimed, "You're in love with reality!"

I like to think that I am:)  What is reality?  From an existentialist point of view, reality is neither good nor bad; it just is.  The way we respond to it then becomes our "reality."  So, you are the one who determines your reality.  I loved President Utchdorf's talk in which he talked about dying people's regrets.  He said one of the most common (and surprising) regrets is that people "wished they had allowed themselves to be happier."

It is up to us to determine if we respond to life with bitterness or gratitude, love or hate. That becomes our reality.

Monday, December 17, 2012

End the Glorification of "Busy."

I manage our business Facebook page.  You know how Facebook will prompt you to update your status by saying, "What's on your mind?"  On the business pages, it will prompt you with other things, like "Are you doing anything special for the holidays?" or "Share something with your audience..."

Today, the prompt really stood out to me.  It said "Tell people what you're busy with today..."  I have recently been thinking a lot about "busyness."  I have a friend whose life motto is "End the glorification of 'busy.'"

Elder Utchdorf commented on the glorification of busy:
"And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life.

We live in a culture of stress and overabundance.  We run from work, school, practice, lessons, parties and errands in an endless whirlwind of busyness.  Maybe it makes us feel important.  Maybe we look down on those who are not busy because we are jealous of them.  We may think we have to do all these things. When we see people with the focus to say no, people with control over their lives, people who delegate and are interdependent, maybe we are a bit envious.

We know that the way they are living is good, better than the meaningless hustle and bustle.  They seem to posses such clarity; we feel embarrassed to be so overwhelmed.  So we start to make excuses about why we need to be so busy, and we defensively attack non-busy people questioning whether they are as needed or important or high-functioning as us.

Of course, life does get busy at times.  But it's one thing to get busy once in a while, and quite another to live as an angry American, ready to explode the second a car cuts in front of you on the road.  Life is not meant to be lived that way.

I am a fan of yoga and meditation.  When you are so high strung all the time, it's hard to slow down and connect with your body.  It's sad that we get that way.  We forget how to feel.

There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs when busy people first experience yoga. They cry.  Even if they're not sad.  They feel the weight of things that have happened to them years ago.  They breakdown after being overwhelmed for far too long.  They finally take the time to slow down and connect with their bodies.  They feel.

Busyness is jading.  It forces people to go into survival mode because they can't emotionally handle all of the stimulation they're experiencing.  This is a great mechanism when you have to go through really stressful times.  But it can be hard to turn that off when the stressful times are over. It takes conscious effort to clear our minds and schedules and end the glorification of busy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Wear Pants to Church Sunday" - My Thoughts

There has been a lot of offence and hurt feelings over "Wear pants to church Sunday."  It's understandable; the church is very near and dear to many people, and it's hard to know how to respond when it feels like someone is attacking your beliefs.  When people say, "What's the big deal?  Don't get so upset, they're just pants.  Even the church says we can wear them to meetings."  One point that has been made quite clear is that this is not about the pants.  It's a protest.  

So, what are these skirt shunners protesting?  There are a lot of specific things, but I think it boils down to two main points: (1) the "family ideal" preached by the church and (2) the fact that priesthood is given only to men.  There are a lot of complaints (not able to participate in baby blessings, can't hold "higher" callings, like bishop and stake president) but I think they all mainly fall under these two umbrellas.  

The Family Ideal

Those claiming that the church's focus on family belittles women must be going to a different church than I am.  The church is very supportive of women.  I know of no organization that views women and mothers in such a respectful way.  Some argue that by glorifying the role of mothers, the church inadvertently belittles women who are not married stay-at-home moms.  Maybe individuals do, in which case individuals are who need to change, not the church. The church has never blamed or belittled women who have to work to support their families or who choose to have a career.  

It boils down to faith in the purpose of the family unit.  I studied public health, and I feel in every way that the family is the best possible functioning unit of society.  There are several things that must be accomplished in a society: humans must be born (some people forget this critical step), they must die, and in between they must make a monetary living to support themselves and do the basic tasks required to survive as a society (eat, clean, care for the helpless).  These responsibilities can be divided very neatly between two people.  

Both share in producing a new human.  But what next?  They need to eat, clean, and make a living.  Adam Smith was famous for his thoughts on the assembly line.  Workers divided and specialized.   Why?  Because it was much more effective.  Two single parents raising a child have to do much more work than two married parents working together raising two children.  They synergize. Now, the only tricky part, who is to stay home, and who is to go to work?  

Nature (God) has made this decision for us.  Women carry baby humans and feed them when they are born.  It is much more convenient for women to be the ones at home when they are pregnant, recovering from pregnancy and feeding the baby humans.  Men, who don't have this task, are free to go out and make a living that they then share equally with the woman at home.  Because they are equals.  Neither task is more important.  The Savior taught this principle when he taught that, "If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing?  If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?..They are many members, yet but one body."  Neither part is more important.  Just different, and both needed for a functioning unit.

The Right to the Priesthood

The right to the priesthood is the other major complaint raised.  First, I want to stress that it's a good thing to fight for your rights.  It runs very deep in our American society.  We know what our ancestors sacrificed to build this country where men and women of all ages and races have rights.  The birth of America is a fairy tale that just doesn't happen anywhere else around the world.  At the first hint that someone is taking away their rights, people get very fired up and defensive.  

There's another aspect to our society though; we are a society with an overload of choices.  You can have it your way.  This spawns the idea that there is a "best choice" that can bring ultimate happiness.  If only you can achieve the best, then you will be happy.  Some women don't feel ultimately fulfilled and satisfied with their church lives and perhaps feel that if another aspect were added, like priesthood or a new calling, they would be happier.  This is a dangerous attitude.  Not because what people are seeking for are necessarily evil things, but because the idea is flawed.  It supports the thought that happiness and fulfillment are brought on by external circumstances, rather than internal validation.  Perhaps that is what the Savior was trying to teach when he told a rich young man to "sell all that he had."  

Let's think about how the priesthood is used.  The priesthood is the literal power of God on earth.  Worthy priesthood bearers can bless people, heal the sick, administer and have stewardship over families and wards.  However, a priesthood bearer cannot bless or preside over himself.  Men and women alike call upon the powers of the priesthood through a worthy priesthood bearer with the proper stewardship. 

If a woman was sick, she would call on her home teachers/family members to give her a blessing.  A man would do the same.  If a girl wanted a back-to-school blessing, she would call on her home teachers/family members to give her that blessing.  A boy would do the same.  Men and women both answer to their steward, all the way up to the prophet, who answers directly to the Lord.  The Lord is in charge.  Not men. Men and women both participate in the priesthood ordinances of baptism, endowment, and marriage.  Women participate fully in the blessings of the priesthood.  They are not dependent on priesthood bearers, rather the priesthood fosters interdependence and community among all people- men and women.  A desire to turn that interdependence into independence is a social regression (dependence, independence, interdependence), not progress.

Take Home Message

Some women will wear pants on Sunday, and that's okay.  If women in my ward wear pants on Sunday, I won't snidely direct them to this post.  It's good to question your faith and beliefs.  I encourage it, because I feel that is the best way to get to the truth.  That's how I find truth and have developed a testimony.  Prophets encourage us to do that.   I just hope that all of us striving to be saints will refuse to get caught up in the heat and emotion of protest, and seriously pray about what we can do to perfect the church where we can--in ourselves and those over whom we have stewardship.  I also hope we can remember one truth I learned years ago that has forever put my qualms on the matter to rest:  God is not sexist. He's perfect.

The Family Proclamation

New Year's Resolutions

Rosi, being a creep;)
 I'm thinking about what I want to resolve to do in the year 2013.  2012 is going to be pretty hard to top. I graduated college.  Bought a car.  Got my first REAL job.  Got certified to do HIV testing and counseling.  Bunch o' stuff.

However, I've learned that the best New Year's resolutions are not the huge-o ones.  In fact, the best (by far) New Year's resolution I've ever set was a very simple one.

I would consider myself a well-rounded person.  A Renaissance Woman, if you will.  And so I usually set several goals for things I'd like to improve upon in all areas of my life, even though I know that's not the best way to set achievable goals, because I just can't help it.  But about 3 years ago,  I didn't have the gumption to do an end-of-year life inventory.  But it didn't take an inventory to notice that my bedroom was constantly a wreak, and that my clothes rarely made it to the closet.  With my hectic freshman lifestyle, I'd usually do my wash, dump it on the desk, and just wear my clothes from there till they were all dirty again.  It was a vicious cycle.   So resolved to never go to bed with out putting my laundry away.

And I never have since!  For the last three years, my room has been unbelievably cleaner.  It was easy to remember, (I didn't have to consult my goal chart in my journal) and even when I was suuuper tired and ready to fall into bed, I made myself put away my laundry.  I got incredibly fast at it :)

So what's it going to be this year???

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Year's Eve

I've been writing our January newsletter today, so I've had New Year's Eve on my mind.  It is such a strange, nostalgic, evening.  I always reflect on the last 12 months, and realize things that I never noticed before from not having stopped to look.  (Seems to be happening to me a lot lately.)

The past year has been one of immense change for me, with graduation, getting a real job, dating, family stuff...basically in just about every aspect.  It's been good; also exhausting.  I'm looking forward to a fresh start.  There are some things I want to do differently this year.  I haven't fully thought out my resolutions yet, but that nostalgic/motivated feeling will be lingering over me the next few weeks as I hammer them out.

Here are a couple of thoughts that are going into this month's newsletter:

"And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast,
And been bow'd to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury -
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen."

~Thomas Hood

Here, here!

"New Year's Eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights."

~Hamilton Wright Mabie


Friday, December 7, 2012

Yogurt Land!!!!

On a brighter note, I went to Yogurt Land the other night and they have DAIRY FREE SORBETS!!!

This is a big deal.  I was diagnosed with a milk allergy about a year ago, and I miss my fro yo.:(

Not anymore:))))


Perfect first post for an existentialist blog ;)

Although I may claim to be an aspiring existentialist, who looks at the good and the bad in life and does the best she can without getting dragged down by the drama... I am also a Homo Sapien.  I.E., I feel things deeply and have a developmental biological response to things that happen to me.

Seems pretty obvious, but it was pointed out to me a few days ago like it hasn't been in a while.  I went back to an old apartment complex I used to live for a dance party with some friends.  Three guys I used to date happened to be there.  (Aren't I lucky??)

It brought up a lot of memories and emotions I hadn't felt in the last few months.  Now that it's all passed, I was looking back with a lot more clarity.

I realized that I had been totally jaded by the first of those guys (sorry other two that had to deal with that...). It blew my mind, because I thought I was rational, and above getting so deeply hurt by a breakup.  I had felt manipulated and betrayed and humiliated, and I was determined never to feel that way again.  So I put up a wall around myself without even realizing it.

 The last few months I've been really lucky and gone out with some fantastic guys, who have helped me let down that wall and be happy and vulnerable again, without such a fear of getting hurt.

It's always good to look back and realize that you've healed. :)  Even though it's embarrassing to think there was a time you were that emotionally unhealthy (and unaware).  But, surprise, we're Homo Sapiens and it happens.