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Bits and phrases that strike a chord with me

I was talking to a friend of mine today, and I mentioned to him my theory on time, and why it motivates me.

Anyway, he seemed to appreciate it, so I thought I’d share it here, and some other bits and phrases that strike a chord with me…

  • My theory on time… The problem with time is that it, whether its 2 weeks or 2 years, eventually runs out.
    • I guess I have been in one of my self-reflective states lately, and if you take the ‘time’ to think about it, time really does run out.  Saying I will do something later or next week or by the end of the summer is just saying something so your mind can feel at ease.  The part that motivates me, is that I know all too well that there is a clock ticking, and it drives me to better myself everyday and to have goals, and to sincerely strive to attain those goals.  I guess my theory on time just makes me hate revving in neutral, which is how, unfortunately, the majority of our lives are lived.
  • “…A blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
    • This is taken from a conversation that Martha Graham had with Agnes De Mille (look up Martha Graham in Wikipedia – amazing woman and story).  You may not know, but Martha Graham was a famous dancer and choreographer – think of the Michael Jordan of dance, excepted she danced or choreographed for over 70 years.  Anyway, after Agnes opened up on the first night of Oklahoma!, she told Martha that she had this desire to be great, but that she had no faith that she could be.  Martha replied with the line (among other things)  that for those who are great or strive to be, there is “……A blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
    • When I ponder on this phrase, I end up thinking about it in the context that I know a lot of people that are satisfied sitting around and ‘doing nothing’.  Meaning not striving to learn or grow, and leading lives that in the end they would not consider to be all that meaningful or productive.  Everything we end up striving for is borne out of a dissatisfaction with the status quo, and that “dissatisfication” is the “blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
  • “For everything there is a season”
    • Okay, so I have faith, but I am not a religious man, in fact, I very well may be turned away at the gate.  With that being said, this phrase was taken from the bible, and though I don’t read the bible, who am I to question it’s content and not to appreciate some of the wisdom it contains?
    • 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
      3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
      3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
      3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
      3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
      3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
      3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
      3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
    • The reason why this short and simple phrase resonates with me, is because sometimes we lack patience, and try to rush towards things.  For example, a kid wanting to rush past 15 and 16, to turn 17 and get his license.  This phrase, to me, says that we should appreciate what we have today, and the enjoy the life we have today, because there will be a time for everything else.  If you are healthy today, be happy, because there will be a time when that is not the case.  If you are sad today, be content knowing that the melancholy will pass in time. etc.  It doesn’t mean not to plan, or work towards a goal, it means patience.
  • “Quis atterit mihi tantum mihi plantit fortius”
    • A latin phrase that basically (and roughly) translates into “That which attempts to destroy me only makes me stronger.”  Could it be a rough translation into latin of a famous Nietzsche quote?  I don’t know, but what I do know, is that the phrase itself is powerful.  I’ve been in situations in my life where it seemed that things were stacked against me, but I came out with an appreciation for living, and the resulting experience only made me stronger (or at least appreciate the opportunity that I have to enjoy life).
  • “A Dream Within a Dream”
    • From the great Edgar Allen Poe.  Wikipedia has a good interpretation of the phrase, but if you read the poem in its entirety below, you can draw your own, that will revolve around the Wikipedia interpretation:  <”A Dream Within a Dream” reflects Poe’s feelings about his life at the time, dramatizing his confusion in watching the important things in his life slip away. Realizing he cannot hold onto even one grain of sand leads to his final question that all things are a dream.>
    • This poem is the shit, the imagery of the ocean is quite powerful in fact.  When he references the “surf-tormented shore…”, which I think is a metaphor for how the water wears down and pounds away at the physical existence of the shore (as time does to all of us).  Beautifully and expertly crafted words that evoke a sense of deepness and helps us appreciate the time we have.
    • Take this kiss upon the brow!
      And, in parting from you now,
      Thus much let me avow-
      You are not wrong, who deem
      That my days have been a dream;
      Yet if hope has flown away
      In a night, or in a day,
      In a vision, or in none,
      Is it therefore the less gone?
      All that we see or seem
      Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

  • “We will all laugh at gilded butterflies”
    • Shakespeare – seriously the dude was genius.  This particular phrase is from King Lear,  towards the end of the play I think, and if you haven’t seen or read it, I suggest you put it on your summer reading list.  Basically, to “laugh at gilded butterflies” is to laugh at people who are or pretend to be something they are not or are – i.e. fake people.  The term “gilded” itself, if you look it up in a dictionary, is to cover something with a thin layer of gold, making it more ostentatious.  Something that is gilded is deceptively pleasing, like something rotten and covered it up in something pretty.  In the case of King Lear, he is referring to people, who are bad on the inside, but have the outward appearance of being pure or special.  Like I said, Shakespeare was a genius, and this phrase is deep.

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