How can we really see?

What if we could look at the world and really see it? I mean seeing it through the eyes of imagining. I hope that in reading these posts, the eyes of your mind will open and let you see more, feel more, and think more about the world.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Struggle...

I try to push myself and do well until suddenly a part of my brain just seems to shut off, and I stop caring entirely. Sometimes the rest of my brain is yelling, SCREAMING, for that part to WAKE UP and try something! But it won't. I end up in bitterly frustrated tears because I can't force myself to ACT. I feel like a ghost looking at myself in exasperation and wailing in agony as I watch my grades plummet and my life fall apart under my inattentive fingers.

Some days I just want to buy a ticket and hop the first plane home. To just give up, because it stopped being worth it a long time ago. And then... I remember why I'm here. Why I'm pushing myself through this morass of homework and painful self-hatred every single day. Because the Lord loves me and can see my future clearly, the future I can have if I keep trying.

I have days where I feel like the scum of the earth, sucking up people's tithing money and doing nothing useful in return. A parasite on the world. Lower than dirt. Then I remember that I'm a daughter of God, and he has a plan for me. I might be dirt, but he loves that dirt dearly and wants that dirt to be carried on the winds of change, landing in some distant place and growing something amazing...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Plato, Tolstoy, and Art

The way Plato viewed art was very bland and one-dimensional, only because the Greeks "art" was comprised of copying life to the most precise degree. He thought it useless and frivolous, completely necessary even! But we know this isn't true, it illicits such compelling emotions within us that it cannot be called useless.

So what view should we hold to? To my knowledge and in my opinion, Tolstoy's view is much closer to the truth. He says that art is a way to unify the souls of men. To bring them into one way of thinking, to feel together in empathy and caring.

Tolstoy would have us picture a river, this river of religious perception. It is flowing just out of reach, but through emotion and art we can tap into it and pull up a draught or two.

I picture it as having an prism in the center of your being, and every time you experience art it's like a beam of light hitting that prism. Your soul is suddenly connected to another person by that tether, and as you connect to more people it becomes a web of emotional collusion bringing all of humanity together.

Art is the focal point of our existence. The expression and combination of feeling that allow us to interact beyond the barriers that separate us into individuals. We can use art as an access, a portal into the mind and hearts of other beings. Our souls become as one, our purposes become as one, and our divine purposes become more clear.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I Believe That Anger is our Greatest Enemy

For my English class, I was asked to write a paper containing an "I Believe" statement. This is what came out when I sat down to write it. I know very few people read this blog, but I'm hoping it can help someone who is struggling with anger as much as I did. That you can see the way out and take it. I hope these emotions mirror yours enough, that you can empathize with it enough, that it will make you think.

            I was engaged once. He was my whole existence, and we swore we’d love each other forever. We were going to marry in the temple and raise a family together. Then he lost his temple recommend, and my world shattered like a sheet of pristine ice on a morning in late December. I spiraled down into a deep well of pain and misery. The dark morass of anger and agony overcame me. I was drowning in torment, wracked by burning anger so fierce it scorched me inside and out. My head kept pounding with the thought that I had chosen poorly, given my heart to the wrong man. I hated him, and I hated myself for choosing him. Doom set in, and I retreated inside myself to attempt the rebuilding of layer upon layer of self-worth. Layers created over years of trial and error, pain and sadness. But nothing like what I was engulfed in this time. His sin had shattered everything.
            In my grief I pushed everyone I loved away from me, terrified of adding any more pain to the mounting agony. Seething anger burned through my veins, and though my soul longed for relief, all I fed it was more searing anger to fan the flames of hatred. This cycle kept growing, higher and higher the tornado raged inside me, occasionally lashing out at the people I loved most dearly. I fought the rising panic inside me, that begged for release. Instead, one night, I let the fire rage through me until it burned me up. All that was left was an angry black shell, filled with nothing but lost hopes and despair. The fire smoldered low inside, and I became stone. Hard as flint and just as unfeeling, I let myself be carried on the currents of life; going wherever it took me without caring at all. Finally the beginning of January came, and with it, release from my self-made prison.
            With school starting the next week, I climbed aboard a plane destined for Salt Lake City. As I felt the tires leave the tarmac, I felt my spirit rear its head. The beast that had slept inside me for so long was waking, tamed and licking its wounds, but still there. My strong, resilient self had just been lurking, waiting to be lifted out of the pit of misery I had sunk it down into. We lifted into the air, and I felt wings unfurling inside me. As my soul took flight on tattered wings, and soared for the first time in a very long time. Landing in Utah was like a dream, and so was the bus ride up to Rexburg. I felt as if I were gliding over the land, breathing the fresh air again. I could see hope in the distance, calling out to me, and I was running toward it with all my strength. Idaho has become a safe haven for me; a point of harbor in the stormy seas of my own rage. My anger has subsided so greatly since I came here, following the compass of my broken heart. The fiery dragon that once tormented my soul has been appeased, and sleeps inside me as if dead. I was myself once more, the person I was meant to be. My dreams and aspirations were restored to their former glory. All my standards for self-mastery had returned.
            It no longer matters which of us had started falling first. The point was that I had let myself fall from the ideals I had once held. I should have seen myself as a rare gift, not to be given lightly to a stranger. Instead I was careless, and was left with a pulsing hurt that chafed like a sore on my soul. I would like to claim that in my moment of greatest anguish, I turned to God. But I didn’t. I wouldn’t even accept the love of my family and friends, though they offered it most readily. How could I feel love again, when the man I loved broke me, and took part of me with him? A portion of who I was is gone, forever. Part of me I will never regain. Some piece of my soul cries out still for the man whose pornography addiction had come between him and a celestial marriage. When I pick at the pieces of my life, I still see reflected back at me the selfsame man I loved. That boyish smile, those radiant blue-gray eyes that sparkled with delight. The tender way he held my hand, and spoke soothingly of love and eternity.
            I focus on those things to remind myself that he is not the enemy. My anger is the enemy. Anger tears us down from within, ripping to shreds the few self-loving thoughts we manage to muster. I had let my pain become a cave, and retreated into it to hide from the world. My anger was the door I used, pushing against it when others tried to let themselves in. Until I freed myself from the anger, locking it up instead. Sometimes it stretches forth its claws, trying to reclaim me, but I resist with all my strength until it recoils. That slithering, fire-breathing serpent of destruction. Anger. Our greatest enemy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Faith like a River

Gospel truths find a home in our hearts,
like a child hiding from the scorn of the world,
shutting themselves away, carefully tended by the loving protector,
until one day they spring free,
falling from your lips like dewdrops from heaven.

Each syllable falling in pristine innocence,
the knowledge gushing forth until it becomes a river,
combining with the crystal-clear testimonies of others,
to become a mighty force in the Lord's hands.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


As we go about our daily lives there are four questions we should really be pondering.

What should I do?
What things could you be doing that will improve your life? Do you take enough time for yourself every day, and do something that you enjoy? Are you making wise choices about the activities you take part in?

What should I learn?
Is there something you could be learning? Something that will help you grow, as a person? How can you improve yourself? A new hobby? A new talent? broaden your horizons.

What should I change?
Is there anything holding you back right now? What is keeping you from truly enjoying your life, or living it to the fullest? Is there some way to work around or include the things you normally do every day?

Who should I help?
Do you know someone who could use your help? Someone who is looking to work on their own growth? What can you do to serve them? How can you love them today?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Wall of Strength

Slowly, methodically, a man slaps mortar on a brick, and places it on a short wall. Rows of them lined upon each other, drying in the sun. A fierce wind picks up from nowhere, and blows down part of his wall. Patiently, the man rebuilds the section; painstakingly placing each brick by hand. What is the man protecting? A small tree grows within the walled area, its branches reaching toward the sun, but its trunk not yet strong enough to survive. The man wishes to protect this tree, but things keep interfering. First the wind, now a stray cow knocks down another part of the wall.

Starting to despair a little, the man resignedly repairs that section as well, feeling as though his work is never done. Shortly thereafter, it begins to rain, and the man packs up and heads home. The next morning he returns to find his wall has dissolved into a mass of brick and muck, laying in a vague circle around the pathetic little tree.

Most of the morning is spent removing the wasted materials, and the man sits down for lunch, pondering his problem. Each time he repairs the wall, it gets broken again, and the rain tore it down entirely. What was he to do?  Staring at the tree, pondering in his mind and in his heart, a plan began to form.

That afternoon, instead of working on the wall, the man dug around the tree, and fertilized it. He then went home. In the morning, the tree looked no different. He began to build the wall again. During lunch he had the same nagging idea, and he spent the afternoon pruning and caring for the tree itself. The man found that by building only in the morning, the wall was mostly dry by night, and completely dry by the next morning. The weight no longer made the wall weak. Days progressed into weeks, and eventually the wall was finished. Stepping back and gazing upon his masterpiece, the man was astounded to find that the tree was still taller than the wall. It had long leafy branches, and lovely buds were forming into little white blossoms.

He had been so preoccupied with the wall, and caring for the tree, that he hadn't noticed its growth.
And so it is with our faith in God. If we spend all of our time protecting our beliefs from others, our faith languishes without nourishment. But if we spend equal time between strengthening our will, and growing our faith, then our faith will be able to withstand: the winds of change, the sudden buffets of attack, and the slow painful erosion of doubt.