Knowing what you want, part 2

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This is the second part in what I think will be a small series. Today I want to explore what I myself want, and then see where my imaginations take me. I’ve reformulated the following a number of times in the past few weeks and hope it makes some sense now.

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How do I know what I want?

How do I reach a conclusion with certainty, which I can proceed to follow down its path?

I’m not sure, to be honest, if I truly know what I want. I only know that the image in my head, the plan, the dream I’m building together is something that makes me happy. It brings a swing into my limping step, it helps me get out of bed in the morning and face another day at work. The image in my head makes me smile, and yearn for the time when I might get what I (think I might) want.

I imagine a humble little house on the edges of a city or in a suburb-like area, with a bit of a garden and nearby places for the kids to run around. I see a few of my own kids, still fairly young, being their silly, imaginative selves as they create mischief. I’m taking a small break from work: the freelance research I do for the EU/EU-institution/similar group, working from home in a comfortable, sunny office that the kids are NOT allowed to enter unless its very urgent. I work while they’re at school and after they go to sleep, the rest of the day I’m there for the family and for my own hobbies and such. I think I can see someone I care for in this picture. They work a bit further away from the town perhaps, but make sure to be home in the evenings for the family. Or maybe I’m on my own, but living well enough to afford a bit of extra help now and then. I’ve got a big dog and a few other pets. I have a good friend circle. I can understand and use several languages in my work, and possibly live in a country with a language other than my own. I try to exercise and eat well, but probably get too stressed most of the time for real healthy living.
Its a hazy image, maybe a Hallmark card-worthy picture. But its what I want. I know it in my heart.

I think about how I know that this is what I want.

I’ve written privately of late, how I come to my conclusions, my plans. It boils down to the following method (generally completed entirely in within my mind, though I recommend writing it down as well):
– I brainstorm – throw out ideas, ways of life, situations, items, pictures of what my life could look like with different wants and dreams
– I take some time look at what I’ve wanted in the past and why, how it really felt to have something that I had wanted, or think about why I wasn’t able to get something I’d dreamed about. Using this lens, I throw out a number of my brainstormed ideas – some things just don’t suit me or aren’t realistic in the least
– I think about who I am today, and how far I am willing to change myself and my situation – how much time and energy I’m ready to invest, or what suits me right now. Using this lens, I throw out a few more brainstormed ideas.
– I look at the remaining ideas. I listen to my gut a bit, I close my eyes and pick ideas at random, I ask friends what they think, I ask the stars, I look for a sign… etc.
I do whatever I feel like doing at the moment to pick a few ideas to work on for now.
– I explore each idea as thoroughly as I can, to figure out how I could get that want. I think about whether I like the paths those explorations find. Do I want to get that training? Do I want to move with that person to that place? Do I want to have to train a huge, intelligent animal? Do I think I could muster the motivation to maintain that garden?
– Having figured out some element of the path I would need to take for each want, I think of my motivation. Do I feel motivated by any of the ideas in particular?
– I decide for the wants that have passed these steps, and whose images make me smile the most.
– I let myself dream about the less realistic options. I draw fantasies like paint by numbers with the stars.
I wish and dream, think and desire…
Yet ultimately, I know what I want at that moment, having pondered and considered my options.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t want anything too big or crazy. I don’t need nor want a fairytale ending, riches, or perfection. Let those be my dreams and fancies.

I just want a house full of children, a life full of laughter and languages, music filling the air, and enough greenery and stars around to keep me close to nature. I want to earn a living that meets our needs, through a job that connects me to the entirety of a great continent, through which I can research and learn on behalf of my employer. I want to be there for my family and be able to look back at my week with satisfaction.

I can hope that this is something I can obtain in the next 15-20 years. I can hope that I will still want these things when I am older, or that I will not want somethign completely different from what I work hard for.

Now I must think about how I can reach these wants, and use my above method to find the best path for me. It’ll probably involve studying some more, living in other countries, travel, and lots of hard work finding the right employers and positions, as well as bringing myself to the level of knowledge and ability to work the kind of job I think I want.
For now, I continue with my life the way I am, and work on shaping my future, one day at a time.

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Knowing what you want, part 1

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“This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger, and you had everything to lose..”
-Switchfoot “This is your Life”

I want to think about what I want. More specifically, how I come to know what I want and what that knowledge means for me.

Why?

A friend brought this topic to me in relation to his own contemplations. Seeings its relevance for mine, and honestly, everyone’s lives, I thought it deserved some dedicated time and attention. I’ve since written a few separate personal reflections on knowing what I want and have come to several conclusions. I’d like to use this space and this opportunity here to explore some of the ideas I’ve been contemplating.

My goal in writing today’s blog entry is to set the stage for a more thought-out entry on “knowing what you want”. I want to explore different aspects to this question, this complex, interwoven query. My first thought today – can I tell you what you want?

I can only base my conclusions and thoughts on my own life. I can’t speak for the lives and minds of others, excepting what they have truthfully shared with me. This means that I need to focus on my own wants and desires in order to provide the context for my reflections. I am a fairly open person; constantly sharing my own life stories with others. Unlike learned and renowned writers of philosophy, introspection, psychiatry, etc., I can not take a step back and speak in mostly generalities. Without reliable outside information, I can not speak for others on the topic of their wants and motivations. Perhaps in another 30 years I might feel I have the right to speak in general terms for a group I represent and know the interests of, and perhaps I might be called upon to do this much sooner, but within the sphere of this blog, I need to focus on what I alone can know.

I like to think about what others might want. I’m known to try to advise friends, try to understand difficult colleagues, and figure out the other side to most of my arguments with others. I even put words in the mouth’s of animals, wondering whether a polar bear might want shade or a dip in the water at the zoo. I believe its a part of my personality, to want to know what others are thinking or wanting. Perhaps that is something everyone thinks about..

We are all individuals. Unique and different in our particular experiences, wishes, desires, and motivations, we might be able to make educated guesses about a person’s or person’s thoughts, but ultimately we must look within. I look to my own wants and determine how I know what I want, and hope that my own introspection might aid in yours. I believe that we each must look at many experiences and perspectives, taking pieces from each to form our own recipes, our own mixture that works for you, and you alone.

My friend, I come to you from the position of a young, somewhat educated, religiously-raised (and now __?), privileged woman with limited experience gleaned from life events, friends, family, books, and other external sources. This does not invalidate my thoughts, but serves as a disclaimer.

I write this piece for the contemplative, the soul searching, and the worriers. The ones who lose sleep over what the future holds, who wonder, who am I and what will I be? What will I bring to this world, and how does my small part fit into this global, timeless play?

I congratulate those who find their passion, who have their goals, their plans, their challenges figured out, at whatever level that may be. You’ve reached some form of clarity, even within your doubts, and you follow that clarity. Whether you’ve reached it through hours of thought, or a quick decision, or even through the influence of someone you respect or follow, you know what you want.

Can I tell you what you want? Could something that I share from my own wants and desires, my path to finding them, tell you what you want in turn? Perhaps. I only hope that my path to finding my answers will liken what you might find rewarding in turn. I will stumble and fall, look back and question, hopefully unfolding my journey through this blog. I hope to solidify my own mind, whether publicly or in my private writings, as well as improve my writing in turn.

I hope you’ll follow my journey at times, and leave some comments below. I believe its important to not grow in isolation, but to take in the words of others. I look forward to incorporating your responses and the reflections of my friends into next weeks blog and the ones after.

A month of thinking

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I’ve been on vacation for the last two weeks. A much needed, finally restful vacation. I’m one of those people who tends to use their day off when it comes (excepting vacations) to take care of some items in my private life that I’ve been ignoring, instead of just relaxing. Sometimes its just a fact of life that you need to do that, but it led to some major stresses lately. Having this break to just sit in a car or train and look at the countryside while thinking, has reminded me that I like to contemplate and form my thoughts into coherent ideas.

I’ve found my creativity, my motivation to write again. I’ve had some time to turn off my daily stresses and think more in the long-term. Its helping me to focus on the important things in my life, instead of getting bogged down in the little things. I believe it is improving my mental health, and that is something I need to not neglect, in the face of my apparently poor physical health these past few years.

Today, on one of my last days of vacation, I’ve decided to take some time each day on 750word.com to write down my thoughts. Then, I promise that once a week at least (if not more often), I will post a blog entry on here as a compilation or even direct piece from my daily writings. I want to use this media to work through some of my contemplations, to improve my writing, and see if there is any interest in my thoughts being public. I hope that you, as my dear readers, will give me some feedback in the comments section.

I will start small in my goal: 30 days of writing, a month of weekly blog posts. Deadline: Sunday evenings

See you on the other side!

Ashokan Farewell

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This wood would see the tears I cry; these strings would play my pain. Express the hurt deep darkness calls to surface in my heart.

My grief has called me to this song, a peace, a sadness of this loss. I play for you, dear simple soul, as thanks for all you’ve done.

Vibrating notes, they cling to air, enveloping my mind and heart, while soul cries out in sharpest pain: a loved one gone, a dear one lost..

I do not know where you now go, but I’ll miss you in this life. I’ll miss your cheer, your laugh, your joy. I’ll miss the love you brought.

Farewell to you, beloved soul. You join so many others. Those parted from this world today, in violence and hate, in peace and love. Sickness and tragedy, hunger and thirst, desperation and rage. We all go in some way.

I thank the stars that we knew you. We’ll miss you,

Every day

The Fight

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Passion.

Desire unbridled. Powerful force, knocking breath from lungs

as waves crash and souls battle.

Laughter and joy, anger and hatred

all forms of love unleashed, its song screaming into the night

An honesty eclipsing truth and lies,

Dark corners brought to light.

 

A cry of lust, frustration

vibrating through the searing notes that violins did screech,

dust biting string, a pull, a force of true strength pushing note for note

that flames appear in empty air,

A wake of dust as Discord streams forth, laying waste to all it finds.

Fire eating, burning doubt and questions, as it stops for no man,

no Power its equal, no thought to stop its path.

 

Breathe, my dearest love, as we sink into the deep,

flying high as the sky, no crash in sight as fire burns the air

Burns the stars and burns the night.

Our passion,

unbridled desire. Power true and fast, some seek nothing else in life.

When passion calms, we seek a Peace,

But who needs rest when life abounds?

The Concert of Emotions

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How to define the indescribable?

You can’t, you won’t, you shouldn’t.

Yet perhaps I can describe the feelings that rushed through, the moments that I felt, the heights your music drove me to.

Your music, their music, the combined essence of this performance, a look into another world, where blessed angels roam the fields, where storms might bring your thundering sound, where lonely hearts might take your lead, a sturdy rope of lifeblood’s song.

Lift me high, yet bring me down, among the trees and leaves and streams. Capture the soul of the unspeakable as my heart’s serenade is brought to life.

Erlebnis, lebnis, element of life. How could you send me home tonight?

I sat alone within the crowds, each one of us a single point of wonder, shared air pressed out from lungs stretched tight with breath held long, in hopes our bodies might fade from song.

Blasts of light, deep roar of sound. Sweet stretch of piercing violin, upon you praise of multitudes of tears I lay.

Sweep through me, love, anguish, and hope. An inferno of feelings I’ll yearn to understand, as I glean meaning from these simple notes. Simple, yet infinitely complex in tone: the movement, the volume, the control with which each artist paints the waves that travel to your ear and mind, encompass nerves, shaking your form as its attempts to understand,

Fail, as all will surely fail, perhaps you fail there most of all?

These songs that thought I knew well, release me from my daily toils, my troubles and my wondering mind. Thoughts come and go, none stay for long within the waves of music’s sea. I lift my head above the tide, catch breath and close my eyes again, let tears drop down, reminding me of life outside, of worlds beyond.

Carry me anew as I leave this moment, an atmosphere of silence as I pray they never break this line, connection, conversation of kindred hearts.

Released I go into the night, grateful for the chance to hear these pieces once again, again again, as oft I like, and thank their creator for his gift to the world. These words I could not, would not express through claps and nervous brief encounter, yet here they lay to rest my thoughts, not all encompassing my time within that seat, within that hall, within your sound. I thank you for, the peace you bring, the hope you foster, the work you inspire, and only wish you all the best as you shine your heart around the world.

Prague

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image

An ocean of green. Islands of stone peering out among the trees.
The wind carries away the sounds of the city, replaced by bird’s symphony.
One lonely tone pervades, a tram beside nature’s domain.

Far below, a city frozen, yet vibrant with motion. Time stands still in pockets, as ancient facades crowd around stone paths. Modernity beneath the roofs, yet from above, it could still be in a form long past.

Oh to be nobility, riding and strolling among these cool pillars, a palace for summer, leisure, and love.
Gardens abound, Spring at its peace. Echoes of romance linger among the trees. Whispers, secrets, long faded, their joined impressions a mist upon the grass.

Fade away, loud people all around. Fade as time carries me into the past, an age of castles, knights, and crowns.
Shower me not in rain, but in waves of time captured in these smooth stones. Towers stand above the clay roofs, a chain of ages tied together in a knot of moments. Pieces of movements, cultures, and styles.
Who are you Prague?
What are you – young or old? Forever changing, I seek to find your core.

If times’s winds would wear you down, might sand and clay be all they find in centuries to come? Will they remember your history, your peoples, or your joys? A city full of story, will it all be lost one day?
For death comes to us all some day. Eternity at war with fate.
Humans wish to make their mark, to last within the world they left, a memory, a dream on stone facade. Facsimiles of fixed moments we hope remain until the end,

forget-me-not’s blowing among the fields of stone.

Ein Kleines Gedicht – A Small Poem

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Wie hübsch
die Blumen deiner
Seele, so zerbrechlich,
so sanft.

Seid ihr müde? 

Hier ist die Sonne,
Hier ist der Mond.
Küsst mich, denn euer Herz
Ist mein Leben.

How beautiful
the flowers of your
soul, so fragile,
so soft.

Are you (flowers) tired?

Here is the sun,
Here is the moon.
Kiss me (flowers), for your heart
Is my life.

 

 

This is a poem that I wrote last year in my German class. A friend has been urging me to post it for some time. I’ve provided a rough translation for my English friends.

-Sarai

An Ocean Away

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I sit upon the sun-warmed sand, stare out into the endless blue,

You’re all so far, infinite waters beyond my sight. Your land a hazy memory behind my tired eyes. I sit and remember, as the day goes on, thinking how you want me, as I want you too.

Yet ocean divides as my tears begin to fall. An aching reminder of the distance between us.

My mind recalls the shape of your face,

your voice, your smile, your lit up eyes.

Oh special friends, oh dear ones. Can my heart stop breaking every time I recall how good we were as friends? How loyal, how dear, how close and sweet..

As I move towards the shade, I glance at my nest, built to take me in its arms, to keep from all harm. There lies my sheet, my tattered robe, to serve as warmth throughout the night.

But now I throw away this cloth.

This blanket that I held so close, violently pushed away as loneliness befalls my bed – my silent, empty nest among the ruins of this lonely isle.

How often we would share a hug, a laugh, a kiss, a smile? How often we would sit, bottle between us, passion soaking our lives as we moved from fun to the next, even as our future loomed ahead and woes sat at our doorstep?

All alone, feeling unwanted and yet wanted by those I can not touch. They search for me but will they find, this broken heart of mine?

My love takes flight upon white sails, fighting through waves of storms and cracking thunder to join your shores once more.

I sing from my beach, stranded among my hopes and dreams, which took me oh so far. Having weathered those seas before, I ache to go back once more. My love is far ahead, pushing through the darkness if only to hold you one more time. Could my ballads bring you further? Might my words fuel on your hope?

Fight on, dear love, fight on.

I think of that time, when we held hands as we slept. A moment of true warmth in a friendship so strained by distance. I miss you, each and every one of you. I think of the good, I willfully forget the bad. I dismiss those reasons I had, which separated us where opportunity might have been found. Yet I regret nothing, but that I am so far from what could have been.

Stop handing me the impossible, oh cruel cruel fate of mine. Within reach, yet always beyond my ability to act upon. An endless teasing of wishes and desires, of comfort and love. I try so hard at every turn, determination feeding my resilience, in a cycle that threatens to break its fragile circle.

Confidence shook, doubt spreading like the waves over this beach, finding every pocket, ever hole. You twist my mind from right to left, use my thoughts against me and memories as the food of my dark dreams.

Kiss me, oh dream of mine, as you hold me, tenderly shredding my peaceful sleep.

Kiss me, as you prey upon my depths, so I might thrash and fall from sleep.

Kiss me, and make them reality, even as I wake to find you gone, my happiness within your grasp, unyielding in your steel resolve

to bring my truth towards the light:

I’ll never leave this island, I’m all alone.. you’re gone. You won’t be here to save me, to bring great ships upon this shore, to bring me to those loving arms that kept me oh so safe, before I sought these lands so far… before I left my heart behind..

With Feathered Pen (revised)

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A sweet embrace of ink to paper, as soft lips release its river blue, to stain the page with lines –

Echoes of shapes oft good and true, one by one from mind to page,

once white as snow,

once innocent to thoughts which now it holds.

Sweet drops of writer’s blood, they drop,

sing sweet melodies of memories and dreams once dreamt,

paper taking its shape foretold, its purpose felt throughout the core. Yet

here pain courses through veins of blue, once softly spun, now

ripped into the sheets of white..

Red ink in truth, as author’s heart bleeds upon canvas, a scream

lurking behind vicious slashes, digging

valleys in this shapeless plain.

Soundless drops of tears began,

crashing like thunder among the words written, to break their

form, symbols of love now lost,

each rain drop a memory of love once held.

Each injured word diluted in its form, spreading

further within its host, letter or three damaged beyond repair,

that eyes quite clear might only guess at missing words’ intent..

A tale of heart broken in two, then three and four, an endless

game a child might play. 

How often can you split this page in half? 

Rips

onto the soul of unsuspecting parchment, cursed

with content so heart wrenching, tragedy might barely suffice to describe.

Was fate so cruelly wished upon its face,

that no sign of happiness could bring beauty to its blank surface?

Could not one word,

one lonely form of love or joy

be blessed upon its cover?

Fleeting thoughts of time

untainted by that broken heart

the pen conveys, one stroke by stroke,

Up and down and all around, spinning

a web of darkness. The author leaves

the pain behind, tears of blue slashed across the torn page.

Committed to the flame’s deep thirst, it wonders

silent in its death, what it as paper could have done,

to know just loss and grief and death?

Why must it carry the pain of the world, painted upon

its tabula rosa..