Friday, October 24, 2014

Nous Poetikos: a little heart to heart

You know how some people say "everything happens for a reason"? I've been giving that a lot of thought recently. I'm facing a struggle at the moment, not one that people can see...not even one I'm allowed to share. I'm left here to figure it out on my own, as I usually am. INFJ, introvert, call it what you may, I'm a rare breed of independent. Every time I'm in a predicament such as this, I get really philosophical. It's my personal way of getting into the issue, ripping it apart...this way, eventually, I'll find the best way to re-situate my puzzle into something good: maybe a Santa with toys or a Monet painting (rather than the more Walking Dead-esque version currently floating around in my brain).

Aristotle was the first to really coin this concept of everything happening for a reason. He called it nous poetikos, or "active intellect", Basically saying that if you can manage it, tap into yourself to search for what will make you grow. Everyone has a full potential, an absolution that will someday come. Aristotle believed that your experiences shape you. The challenges and happy moments and dull moments will all work together to create the you that you are. By using active intellect, you can find the quickest and simplest way to your potential. You are always going to get there, a tree is always a tree, but with this use of self awareness...maybe you can get there quick and easy (well, maybe not easy).

Use adversity to become your absolute self.

It sounds simple right? I'm trying to dig deep and figure out how to process this new information, new challenge. How to process first, then how to respond. Do you decide it's too much, cut-and-run? Do you place upon yourself a deadline to release these horrible feelings? If it's not out of your heart by say, Independence Day, there's no getting over it. Maybe you just set yourself on putting it out of your mind. After all, I've proven to myself time and again that once I've decided something I'm stubborn enough (even with myself) to follow through. But what is too miserable? How to weigh the good with the bad? And what about all these negative repercussions? You know a problem is like one drop of water...the rings will eventually hit all sides.

It comes back to active intellect. The reason this challenge is happening is to shape me. I've allowed this challenge. I've let it into my psyche. Now I get to figure out, coming from this particular scenario, what will make me the best me. And the best me can overcome this. I'm so certain the good outweighs the bad.

Now, it's just today. If I can deal with today, then tomorrow, things will be fine.

My mom said something this morning regarding a bit of new news that's also un-share-able. It's out of context, but she said "you have to celebrate these big moments, you don't get that many!" You don't get that many. This idea of big moments could definitely apply to many things. Most obvious, graduating high school, having babies. But, for me, the important big things are what made me grow, my strengthening storms.

I pretended to have friends
I saw stars
I put too much faith in the wrong hands, but then I saved a life
I got drunk on music
I drove over the bridge
I saw someone I loved die
I got an A in college algebra (at this point I could do anything)
I said goodbye
I won some stuff, and acted terrible
I looked out the rear-view mirror on a rainy day in Amarillo
I understood my grandparents
I let down a friend
I took a sledge hammer to my house
I saw a face I knew I would never choose to live without
I fed the good wolf
I fell asleep on the beach
I quit my job to travel, with no real plans for after
I saw the view from Borobudur
I walked in the rain

That list is what came to mind after my mom's exclamation. Those big moments. Each and every one cutting so deep in my character that I can't imagine a me without them. And this morning, I felt this challenge start to shape me. In the months or years to come, I'm going to tell myself to use active intellect. Remember Aristotle's theory...that the oak was always going to be an oak. It was the storms that hit, from acorn to root, that made it the mightiest oak in the wood.

What do I want to be different right now? What would I change if I were rich, more beautiful, had more choices? I will ponder for a while, but it always comes back to nothing. I wouldn't change this life. Because no matter what's happening in the world -- I'm sitting at my desk today, trying to be my best self, and I can't imagine something better.