Training Wheels and Language Learning

It’s all just language. Eventually you learn it or you abandon it. Blogging, writing, photographing, running, swimming – whatever you’d like to name – is just a language that you learn with time. Often through mistakes and lots of wasted time. With patience, you can become fluent in anything.

This isn’t a new truth. But sometimes I think there’s an important difference between knowledge and understanding; you can know a fact without truly understanding or experiencing it. I feel I’ve understood that I can pursue whatever I’d like and that, whatever it is, I’ll get it with time.

Lately, I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time with Microsoft SharePoint and Excel. I’m in the process of teaching it to a coworker and I can see the gears turning in her head. Sometimes she gets frustrated at formulas or remembering where a particular tool is but, with patience, she’s learned a lot.

I suppose the same is true with my experience with Adobe Photoshop. When I started, my photographs were always colorized neon and I used too many filters. As time progressed, I learned subtleties. Photoshop became a language I learned to speak and I dove in and out of the rules. Choosing what brush to use and when to use it. Sure, others could reach a similar end product to mine, but the way we reached it was entirely our own.

The things that you find challenging now will, mostly likely, become easier with time. If you choose to stick with them, they could become second nature. It’s often not a matter of resource or wealth, but a meaningful persistence or patience.

My focus now is on orienting myself in directions I want to explore. I’m pursuing meditation. I’d like to become more of a blogging conversationalist and focus on writing. I recently took up swimming again (it’s been 6 years). Lots of reading, too.

This post wasn’t meant to be much more than a gentle shrug or encouragement towards whatever you’d like to pursue. Find something you’re interested in and start walking in that direction, don’t worry about skill or beauty, it’ll come with time. Training wheels, in fact, help kids learn to ride bikes. Don’t worry if you have to use them to start, or if you’ve been using them a long time, eventually you’ll get where you’re going.

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Patience [short]

It’s already two, so I’m going to write a quick post. I’ve decided that I need to focus more on patience with other people and with myself. Today I got frustrated with another guy because he decided not to do his job – which left a little more work on my part. Later he was insulting me ad hominem and I was getting aggravated. As I walked back to my dorm for the night and he was saying these things to me I just imagined a person pushing the energy down into the ground in a Qigong-like fashion. It helped a little bit but I really needed to sit to forgive myself and him. It takes patience and it’s something I clearly need to work on.

Tomorrow I also have a test! It’s also a Friday! I hope everything goes well and the weekend comes swiftly! Have a wonderful night and I’ll be back tomorrow! As I am every night! :-p

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“The Peace Commission”, a new project

Almost 50 days ago I started this 365 project and every few days I’m reminded of how grateful I am for the ability to express myself. Yesterday wasn’t a fantastic day, and that’s alright. Some days aren’t that great.

Yesterday I also started a project that I conceived in the midst of my self-pity – an act of desperation if you will. It summarizes what I’ve wanted I’ve wanted to live as for the past six months but it remained intangible until last night. “The Peace Commission” is another blog that I’ve set up to focus on resolving conflict.

Half of yesterday felt horrible. There’s a guy in my class who is incredibly angry and lost in himself. He struggles with himself and everyone around him all the time. The entire class I’m in is fed up with him and we struggle with antagonizing his smart-alec attitude and his mannerisms.

His ability to change from pure bliss to pure hell astounds us and it’s incredibly easy to mock him about it. He’ll go into a test and be extremely overconfident, anxiously tap his feet and sigh loudly when he’s done – in an effort to make us hurry up, then he’ll fail and become angry with himself by calling himself a failure. Then he’ll become overconfident about the next test thinking that he’s going to ace it.

That cycle happens in a matter of five minutes literally.

When someone makes a remark about where their from this guy jumps in and says why where he’s from is more (dangerous, cold, populated…). Then, whenever anyone criticizes him, he throws a fit.

It’s a HUGE test on patience because I know that he is lost and yet he is so frustrating. I genuinely want him to be happy but I struggle with refraining from teasing him. Knowing that he’ll overreact makes it very easy when he pushes your buttons.

Last night I also got in an argument with an old friend about cannabis. I became frustrated with her and I realized that it was important for me to just stop talking. I came to a realization that nothing I had to say would contribute anything to the argument. Even saying goodbye would be a remark straight from the ego.

Sometimes it takes a lot to just walk away from something and let the other person feel gratification. It’s a mark against the ego because all that our mind wants is to be better than the other person. It doesn’t matter if we know what we’re saying is incorrect, we just want to feel correct. Walking away solves the problem because there is nothing left for the ego to attach to. When you leave you forget your ego and carry on living your life.

Together, both of these frustrations led me to the realization that I want to be part of a problem solving group. If I want to help make peace in the world, then I will have to actively be part of it. One way I can contribute is to write about achieving peace online. It offers a way to help solve conflicts by teaching others how to solve their own internal conflicts. When we learn to solve the mental problems that we suffer from, we can extend that out into the world and help the world achieve peace.

Much of our battles with others are just battles within ourselves that have been disguised. If we can learn to make peace with ourselves, then we can learn to make peace with others. When I don’t know how to deal with my own anxiety I spread that out into the world. I spread my suffering and cause arguments and ultimately more suffering. By taming that anxiety we can go out into the world as problem solving machines.

When you know how to solve your own mental arguments, you also learn how to solve person-to-person arguments. There’s virtually no difference between them. When someone disagrees with us we have already learned how to make peace with that difference. We don’t spread more frustration.

This could potentially solve problems from a micro to a macro level. When a civilization can solve it’s internal conflict, it can help other nations solve their internal conflict. Perhaps one day we will all learn to solve conflict through internal peace.

“The Peace Commission” is going to be a variety of articles focusing on finding peace and solving turmoil. This could be through step-by-step instructions for reducing internal anxiety, how to solve problems with other people, or through larger means. It’s end goal is to solve conflict and find peace.

The project is heavily inspired by the work of Linus & The Feel Go Factory. Linus has created some of the funniest, humbling, most beautiful photographs/paper crafts tied with step-by-step tutorials to learn how to do anything. He’s a great guy and if you have the chance, check out his artwork on his Flickr page!

Finally, before I wrap it up tonight, if you would like to check out “The Peace Commission“, click any of the hyperlinks and you’ll be lead there. If you want to follow the articles and get inspiring quotes, like “The Peace Commission” on Facebook!

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