Tag Archives: microcosm

Pendulum Swings

photo (5)We are all walking on a wire.

There is an overarching sense that we are safe and secure, our affairs are in order, and those we care about are sliding through life unscathed. We tend to the duties of the day, accepting that sunsets follow rush hours and cars quietly return to driveways. We view health as something in stasis, and radical deviations from these anticipated paths sit just outside our realm of belief.

Locked in the microcosm of immediate thoughts, results, and gratifications, we blindly throw darts and hope for bullseyes.

But, as Mr. Newton noted, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Now, if we bowed under the weight of this awareness on a daily basis, we’d be fast-tracked to insanity. We can’t sit in the car thinking about what happens when the driver in the opposite lane spills hot coffee on his lap. It would make life impossible to live. We would be reduced to gun shy shut-ins, compulsively petting cats and studying DEFCON levels.

But, that doesn’t mean we should strap on the blindfold, secured with a Palomar, and start stumbling into walls. As with everything, a careful balance needs to be found. It’s part acceptance and part defiance, and these two opposing forces don’t normally play nicely in the sandbox.

The world is not built on level roads. Aim for greatness, but keep an eye on the edge. Even when there’s room to fly, winds will inevitably change. Build a safety net before you leap, or someone will have to catch you when you fall.

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Grass That’s Greener

courtHaving watched an inordinate amount of Wimbledon this year, I couldn’t help but draw some strong disparities between real life and “superstar life.” There seems to be a widening chasm between the haves and have nots, and that trend is harshly reflected in society. But, maybe this microcosm lends itself to some further investigation.

As I observed these incredibly gifted athletes achieving feats that I dreamed about as a boy, my mind drifted into a mode of nostalgic possibility. I thought about how different my path would have been if I had the means and discipline required to compete at that level. I contemplated the ceaseless mental stamina and physical training, and I wondered if I could have survived the harsh rigors of a perpetual world tour.

But, inside the bubble, the perfect painting has much less sheen. These professionals are subjected to a barrage of interviews, public appearances, press conferences, endorsement obligations, travel tribulations, and the balancing act of living each moment under a microscope.

Anyone who is able to attain the highest levels in a particular field is scrutinized, but it seems athletes’ and actors’ shoulders are saddled with the heaviest loads. There is a stiff price to pay for the privilege of standing in the spotlight, and many people don’t realize how hot that beam can burn.

So, far and away from the mountains of money and elite social gatherings, I am grateful to be able to preserve my anonymity. Yes, there are countless benefits to being hyper successful, personally fulfilled, and globally revered. But, those don’t come without a significant price tag.

It’s easy to sit in a current state of mind and gaze longingly at someone else’s world. The irony is that they may be staring right back.

Weightless and Waiting

hd-wallpaper-earth-from-space-104

Although I was fast to find every available screening seat for most of this year’s Oscar contenders,  I’ll admit I was a bit late to the “Gravity” party. My aversion to 3D technology, coupled with a reluctance to see a film that would almost definitely cause a violent case of vertigo, significantly delayed my time at the ticket window. But, last weekend I finally watched what I can only describe as a mind-bending, perspective-shifting cinematic experience.

Unfortunately, I had to travel deep into the Valley to find one of the only 2D presentations of this film. But it was worth the drive, and well worth the wait.

Lately, I’ve had a hard time shaking a feeling that has been lingering for a long time. It has been increasingly difficult to find solid ground. There’s an ever-present sense of floating, in both the figurative and literal sense. I’m continuously searching for the elusive sand beneath my toes.

A variety of factors are fueling my personal levitation, but adding the terrifying truth that we are literally suspended in the middle of infinite blackness, peppered between stars and solar systems, forced an instant pause and evaluation session.

A frame of reference is a powerful thing, and sometimes the picture we meticulously paint over a lifetime is merely a brush stroke on the canvas of eternity. Our insignificance in the universe should be a liberating, shackle-breaking sense of freedom, but somehow I feel caged by it. It would be so much easier to wander through the days with my head buried beneath the sand, but my wiring is not programmed for blind compliance.

I want to know more about the reason we’re weightless and waiting. I want to know why we’re left alone with thoughts that keep us awake, with spinning minds and nervous hands. These are impossible answers to impossible questions, I guess. We are an infant species with an endless chasm of uncertainties at our feet. But, the idea that everything around us exists in a bubble of questions is unsettling.

Maybe I’m just a maniac. Maybe it’s time to stop wondering why, and just find a way to be happy inside the microcosm. Maybe time will provide the solutions and justifications.

But, as Jodie Foster famously said, “The universe is a pretty big place. It’s bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So, if it’s just us…seems like an awful waste of space. “