The Sense of Otherness in Us

Mr. Martínez Celaya: One of the consequences of being in exile is that in some ways — you gain the world in many ways. I feel that the freedom that comes with being an exile is to take all these different ways of looking at these problems of displacement and loss and then incorporate as my own, and without necessarily trying to tie it up to, specifically, the Cuban exile experience.

But I do feel that this is a moment in which the conversation has been narrowed to sort of create this sort of simplistic opposition between “locals” and “the other.” And I think that it’s more complicated than that. I mean I think one of the things that I’m most interested in is to find the strangeness in each of us.

Ms. Tippett: The strangeness.

Mr. Martínez Celaya: The strangeness, the sense of otherness in us. I mean I think that we all carry a burden of otherness, of not being a local, so to speak. And I think getting in touch with that will make this simplistic opposition disappear somewhat — or completely, if it we look at it closely enough.

The Whisper of the Order of Things from On Being with Krista Tippett

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To Be Human Is to Be Creative

I’ve been consuming resources on creativity, mainly about unlocking and unblocking creativity. (Most recently, the book Your Inner Critic Is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative by Danielle Krysa) The writers of these resources state that everyone is/can be creative, yet still they reference activities like painting, writing, dancing… all forms of art. This narrow use of creativity still leaves many people with the notion that they aren’t actually creative because they don’t partake in any artistic pursuits.

I’d like to submit that everyone is creative, and that another name for creativity is problem-solving.

Creativity is using your resources — external and internal, whatever they are — to make something new. To imitate and follow the same steps that someone else has created is to recreate, and even then you often put your own spin on things, perhaps without meaning to.

All humans are creative by nature. I think this is what it means to be made “in the image of God.” We all use our minds to imagine things, constantly. (Side note: All humans are creative, but not all who create are human. I think other animals exhibit this trait as well.)

Creativity is a skill of which we all have basic knowledge, and practicing it can lead to better problem-solving abilities. It’s not just for artists and writers, it’s for us all. It is also a path to wellbeing. Practicing isn’t encouraged just so that you will create things for others to sell and consume or so that you will create yourself as someone important. Creativity is a vital tool of resilience in an uncertain and challenging existence.

In our daily lives, we are always either creating, recreating, or destroying. I’m working on building creative practices into my own life, to get better at this skill, and I see fostering creativity as an important spiritual pursuit.

You are a creative creature. Whether you care to create art or not. How will you use your creative abilities?

Scientific Evidence vs. Non-scientific Arguments

“People make decisions all the time that are not based on scientific evidence or even a factual understanding of how something works, but rather, they make those decisions based on cultural values, or aesthetic preferences, or as a way of expressing and managing the anxieties of being human. Far from being a sign of weakness or irrationality, I think this can make a lot of sense.

Where the skeptical side of me kicks in is when people insist on providing a pseudoscientific rationale for something that is, at core, a non-scientific decision.

It is okay to make symbolic decisions about the food you eat, as long as you acknowledge making them for symbolic reasons, and as long as you acknowledge that those same decisions don’t necessarily work for other people. It is okay to make aesthetic or moral decisions about the food you eat, but it is not okay to make up out of whole cloth a complicated science-flavoured rationale in order to lend credibility to your choice.”

Read the full post from Michelle at The Fat Nutritionist here.

Inner Sanctuary

“There is a place in you which has never been wounded, where there’s still a sureness in you, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there’s a confidence and tranquility in you. And I think the intention of prayer and spirituality and love is now and again to visit that inner kind of sanctuary.”

John O’Donohue

I Have Needs: An Inconvenient Truth

Tonight, I’m digesting this article, How to Figure Out Your Unmet Needs.

Recognizing and acknowledging my own needs is something I’ve been focusing and working on recently in my life. It doesn’t come naturally.

And so I’m wondering: Seriously, where did I pick up this persistent belief that a mature, well-adjusted person doesn’t have needs?? I want to be those things; so therefore, I rebuke my own neediness.

The truth remains: we all have needs. It may be that mature, well-adjusted people are skilled at getting their needs met by knowing what they need and asking for help. But somehow I keep getting hijacked by the belief that my needs are just insecurities and weaknesses caused by wounds… problems to be wished away or fixed, instead of natural, normal, universal, and valid needs that deserve to be met.

The work continues…

Live the Questions

source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/becc/4947162508

“I want to ask you, as clearly as I can, to bear with patience all that is unresolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were rooms yet to enter or books written in a foreign language. Don’t dig for answers that can’t be given you yet: you cannot live them now. For everything must be lived. Live the questions now, perhaps then, someday, you will gradually, without noticing, live into the answer.”

― Ranier Maria Rilke
Worpswede, July 16, 1903
Letters to a Young Poet
A Year with Rilke

To Survive, Thrive & Flourish

Like perhaps everyone, I hold beliefs that are ultimately limiting to my own health and potential for growth.

My most basic flavor of unhelpful, limiting beliefs is self-doubt — the struggle to trust myself as my own authority, the questioning of the value of my thoughts, the validity of my own needs, and my importance and worth, in general. Self-doubt has always been with me, but as I’ve embarked on adulthood its limiting powers have become more and more apparent. I know now that it’s imperative that I work to challenge and change my beliefs in order to not only survive… but to thrive and flourish.

I’m resolved to work towards more self-assurance. Today I feel at peace with where I am, and I’m grateful to all the many voices, the many people who have helped me get here.