“If you don’t get out of the box you’ve been raised in, you won’t understand how much bigger the world is.” -Angelina Jolie
An encouragement to explore the many different facets of yourself, to resist suppressing your natural instincts. And as a result, to embrace yourself more truly, and thus, to be joyful more freely, and all the while, love the world more deeply.
build (something) again after it has been damaged or destroyed
They say life inevitably involves overcoming obstacles. However, it had never occurred to me to think about this in relation to the definition of the word rebuild (shown above). Per the definition, rebuilding means “building [ourselves and our circumstances up] again” rather than remaining in a “damaged or destroyed” state.
This applies to so many things in my life. Several among them…
- My car got a flat tire – it was destroyed rather than damaged because it had completely popped open. Naturally, I needed to rebuild by replacing it with a new tire. When it comes to material things, rebuilding seems obvious.
- Now, onto some of the less obvious applications of rebuilding … for one, my decision to be honest with myself and admit when Christianity no longer made sense to me – and was no longer the best fit for my observations of the world and for my values. The moment I deconverted was one of the most liberating, illuminating, and sweetly surreal moments of my life. However, the confusion and emptiness that ensued once this “high” was over was also one of the most challenging things I’ve had to deal with in my life, as I needed to strip my lifelong framework for viewing the world and see and make sense of each thing with new eyes – with so many perspectives to choose from. Rather than remain in a confused state, I must continue to learn, engage with the world, be honest with myself, and piece together the beliefs and values that are to be truly mine (although they may change again). I am in the process of rebuilding my faith, in something – or some things – new.
- Failed relationships. I have been disappointed (as we all have been at some point) by what I felt the other person was willing to give in past relationships – as it seemed that the other person deemed me undeserving of more affection and commitment, it made me feel insecure and doubt my self-worth. However, rather than remaining dejected and/or cynical, I must build anew – and be cautious not to project any resentment from past relationships into my new one. I must recognize that this person is a completely new person and that I owe it to him as well as to myself to rebuild and trust.
- My failures in relationships. Often, I linger on my failures and see myself in light of the failures. For example, although I’ve told myself that I do not want to be the petty, jealous, always-upset girlfriend that I was at one point in a past relationship, that I would be so much cooler and magnanimous this time around, I succumbed to the green monster and lost patience yet again. Rather than see myself as being back to this “petty and jealous person/gf,” I need to rebuild – and keep trying. I also need to recognize that these behaviors occur much less frequently than they did before, that I am a bit more mature than I was before, and my current love truly meets my emotional needs, 99.99% of the time, which I could not say before. And I must continue to rebuild and improve.
- I chose the wrong major in college due to my lack of knowledge of self and of the world. However, I must continue my individual studies/exploring in my newfound career field of interest (coding), while continuing to do well in my current job and keeping an eye open to opportunities to gain experience in coding.
The main thing about rebuilding seems to be to not remain in a damaged or destroyed state. Meaning, not to stay discouraged for too long, and to not let discouragement get the best of you. Discouragement is not the best of you – there is also hope, magnanimity, and a drive for purpose/excellence, which thirst to be watered/nurtured and call on you to constantly rebuild.
- A full night of sleep (8+ hours.. or, however much you need in order to wake up feeling refreshed) & yard work = a renewed me!
- I cannot emphasize the importance of sleep enough. Although I often forget the benefits and neglect adapting to a regular sleep schedule, I am always amazed at how GOLDEN I am after a full night’s sleep: the worries that engulfed me the day before don’t bother me as much, my mind is clear, I am at peace through most of the day, and I am more present/engaged. Because I am stronger, I am able to do things with more focus and stamina, and I am even able to be more loving – I think the latter is because love needs to flow out from within. Much like a quote I’ve read in a book once, something along the lines of, “Be an island unto yourself so that you can be a shelter for others.” If you are always dependent on the other person to give you love, you may be physically unwell and/or spiritually dry, and thus in need of taking care of yourself and/or filling up your heart.
- I did yard work with my love today – it was quite warm, in the low 90s, but barely uncomfortable due to the absolutely clear day and agreeable breeze. And towards early evening, it felt pleasant. At one point, he pointed out how the cars passing by next to us weren’t bothersome at all, and swooshed by rather smoothly, like ocean waves. It was true – I had completely tuned them out and noticed only the occasional birds singing and the breeze moving the perennials around me; and I was delighted once I tuned in and concurred that the traffic “noise” did indeed resemble ocean sounds.
- Amelia Earhart has noted, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” There is truth to this, but I would modify it to read, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act and get in the weeds of the task; the rest is merely joyful flow.” I raked leaves and pulled weeds today to help prepare to lay down new mulch – I noted that, contrarily to what I’d expected, pulling weeds was less taxing than raking. Although crouching down and pulling out individual plant roots was probably more physically demanding than scraping leaves into bunches, I’ve concluded that it must have been because I was completely engaged and present in the activity of pulling weeds – as I physically had to be close to the plants during the entire process, I did not have an opportunity to mentally detach/distance myself from the task and think about dreading it. I actually quite enjoyed it. I have found that being close to nature and doing yard work clears and purifies my mind. In addition, coupled with the beautiful weather, it was quite peaceful. Thus, to come full circle, once I was able to get in the weeds of the yard work (literally and figuratively), I was in an enjoyable “flow” and did not need tenacity.
- Wikipedia defines “flow” as “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”
- My interpretation of the quote may only be applicable to single work sessions. I think being persistent about working towards a goal (repeating the work sessions) does require tenacity, as one needs to go back to the beginning of the work session (“the most difficult thing is the decision to act…” AKA getting started), again and again. In addition, responding to challenging situations that arise requires tenacity. However, as for the everyday, single working sessions, the ideal work ethic seems to be: a willingness to roll up one’s sleeves, get in the weeds, ride the zen-like work flow, and stop when a break is needed (when “tenacity” would be needed to continue).
- Observing the weeds also had me realize that they were not too difficult to pull (individually – an entire landscape is another story); they had relatively shallow roots. This reminded me of a Facebook post I saw once: “Grow where you are planted” (from a Google search, seems to be a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 7:14-24). The weeds, which didn’t belong in their environment and needed to be pulled, had asserted only shallow roots in the ground; the other plants, which were flourishing, were deeply rooted in their environment and would have been much more difficult or impossible to pull out in the same way. I mused that in life, it is worth growing where one is planted, actively engaged and blossoming in the place one has been placed at the given time, with the opportunities that have been clasped in one’s hands. It is the deeply rooted shrubs that flourish and return, after all – the weeds are dispensable. I think that we are all-too-often disengaged and dissatisfied in life.
…Amazing how the time flies! I will not be getting the full night of sleep tonight that I raved about in the beginning of this post, but felt the need to write again and organize my thoughts – it had been too long. I suppose this post will have served as the cap to the much-needed therapeutic session that was initiated by the nature/gardening time earlier today.
Happy Monday to all, and to all a good night! 🙂