Inspirational Articles

Provocative Thoughts From The Next Generation

The Next Best Person You Can Be to Jesus

This is meant to be a meditative process. But who cares what I meant it to be, I would much rather have you make it your own.

Let me start by saying one of the very first things I learned about writing was that more than any reader, I, the writer am trying to convince himself of whatever they are saying. If I come across as “teacher-like” or in lecture tone, please feel free to burn this article, but, if you decide to keep reading past my arrogant tone, please know that the only person I am trying to “teach” here is myself. These thoughts just as easily could have been a journal but this time I really wanted to share what I am thinking to see if people can relate.

Last weekend I was in Phoenix Arizona, actually just a little outside of Phoenix in a lovely little town called Scottsdale. I was surrounded by beautiful skyline, newly built resorts and incredible red desolate rock formations that you always see in those western movies.

Everything about this trip was great. The flight there was shorter than expected. The next day I had a meeting at a fantastic brand-new hotel where afterwards I laid around the pool and had a few drinks. But as I was in this place, even as I was relaxing in this luxurious lifestyle, I found myself pretty unhappy. Now please don’t get too upset with me. You might be thinking, “Kelsey, you bastard, I would kill for a weekend like that and there you are sulking!” Believe me, I sit there and think these same thoughts.

SO, naturally one has to ask themself, “Where the hell is this feeling coming from,” right? Here I am in a beautiful place, my meetings are going great, the charities and projects that I am watching over are thriving, I’m having good stimulating conversations, I’m getting great stuff out of the books I am reading and I am even spiritually harmonized with the path that I want to be on.

Thanks to some thoughts stirred up by some reading and studying I’ve been doing in Quantum Physics, I’m seeing Jesus everywhere in almost everything. Personally I’m learning the more “space” or “room” that I give God to “be” the more that He shows up. In essence, instead of looking for Him in Church where I think He “should” be, I am “allowing” Him (or in this case allowing myself to be able to see Him) in the most unlikely of places. Of course it’s not that God isn’t in Church (although sometimes I think He has stepped out for a smoke break), I am just learning that he isn’t exclusively confined to the inside of a church. That “He” doesn’t speak to us ONLY through the Bible. Even that “He” exists and shows pieces of himself in Buddhism, Hinduism and even, do I dare say it…. Islam. In my conversations with taxi drivers, my conversations with friends, in the lessons that life is teaching me, in the red of the sunset and the pink of the sunrise and even in laughter I can find a presence that is unexplainable (so I guess that concludes me trying to explain “it”). Whatever it is (which at least it is what it is even if I don’t know what it is in the first place), it is a comfort and a great mystery.

YET AGAIN, remember, I am unhappy. How? How can this be? I cannot speak for you or the world, but I believe I have found what is true for me.

Inside me there is a self-sabotaging mechanism that has the frequent ability to spoil whatever great time I could be having. In this case my focus and attention constantly was gravitating toward a relationship that simply wasn’t going the way I wanted it to go. It’s as if this damn thing is a magnet, which, for some god-awful reason, my brain has synced into.

But why was this ONE relationship, this one thing not going right?  Ha, there’s a good one, it’s not going “right,” as if there is some other version of reality out there that exists where everything is the right way, the way it should be, as opposed to the way it really is in this reality, the one that you and I get to share together. But when I noticed this alternate reality that exists (if only in my head) instead of shutting it out, I decided to explore it. And can you guess what I found? This wasn’t a reality of how things should be, this was a reality of how I think things should be, what I want things to look like, how I think things should happen and, forgive me, how I think people should act. Now I have no idea if you have ever explored your own alternate reality, or even if you have one, but what I started to realize was how often I compare this “real” reality to the one which I have created in my head.

Now I had a little visual which believe it or not I took myself through just to see what I would get out of it (no I do not sit around in these visuals all day, only when the Lakers are losing and I have to get away from the pain).

In this visual, think of something in life that isn’t going right. Something that brings up a lot of emotion for you, anger, frustration, fear, disappointment etc… Start by realizing what your emotions are about this “thing/person/experience.” Now, why are these emotions there? Just because your husband forgot to take out the trash, your wife burnt dinner, you got a speeding ticket, your friends are having wild sex, your child got an F etc… doesn’t necessarily mean we have to have feelings of resentment, disappointment, anger, but most often times we do. At least I know I do. But again, why?

When I get upset, disappointed, angry etc… it’s because things aren’t going the way they should be going, in essence, the way they are perfectly occurring in my fantasy reality land. Even though this is a natural reaction, to me it’s actually quite disturbing. Why?

Because the reason I am upset is because things are not going according to a reality that doesn’t exist. But here is the kicker, the anger, frustration, whatever has you, is real. We have taken standards, which, thanks to free will and all that good stuff, we know will never actually perfectly go according to plan, and created an expectation that they will, that they should.

In this visual you recognize what and why you are disappointed and separate that from what truly is. This sounds too confusing, let me try again.

Take the “fantasy land” and completely separate that version of reality from the one that we share, so that you can see them as two completely separate entities. Two separate pillars that are holding up the “house” that we live in.

Now as you see the two realities as separate, increase the distance between them. There can be a pretty alarming distance between the two depending on how often we go through this sort of practice.

For a moment disregard the two separate realities and focus on the “void” the distance, emptiness, whatever it is that you see between the two, focus on it.

This “void” as I like to call it, is probably one of the most dangerous and life-sucking things in the universe.

In fact, as I sit here writing on my plane ride home, the lady next to me is reading “How to Find a New Husband: How to change his attitude and behavior.” Unreal! A book dedicated to helping the wife change her husband from who he is to who he should be. From this reality to that. But it’s not only others. Then, as if that isn’t enough, as I sit next to her I sneeze, then as the moments go by, my expectation for a “bless you” amps up. Finally the gentleman across the aisle from me says those kind words and my near fatal collapse into the black whole of disappointment is dodged, at least for now. But how crazy is that? I am willing to get upset because people might fail to say, “Bless you,” after my sneeze, because the people around me aren’t doing or saying what I think they should!

But we all do this. In fact, I think we will always do this. The key for me is not to stop the impulse but to recognize it. And out of that recognition extend others the grace to be whoever they are even if that doesn’t line up with my “alternate them.”

In fact one of my best friends, Davide, always says, “Don’t only realize how you see the world, choose how you see the world.” I loved his refreshing perspective because it is a balance of “working” on ourselves instead of “working” on the entire rest of the world. I think probably working on the former will save a lot more time and energy.

And what if there were no standards for who we are and someone just met us wherever we were at? I once heard of a guy who did exactly that. I’ve never met him in person but from what I understand he embraced people for who they were, not for who they should be. I’m not really sure how he was able to do this for his whole life but rumor is he did… But there is something that I really like about this model of friendship. It’s authentic, it allows us to be us, listen to that, as if we think we have the “power” to allow other people to be or not to be who they are! Or even as if we have the choice not to be ourselves, as if they could be anybody but who they are.

One more thing about that guy, from what I have read about him, from what I believe about him, he never “gave-up on” anybody. There is another one, read that again, we “give up” on people. As if to say, “I’ve done my best in trying to show you, trying to change you into who you really ought to be but you failed at it. Now I’m giving up.” Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if everybody gave up, then again certainly we might need role models in life, our mentors, parents etc… to show us, to a certain extent, how to live a happy or healthy life. But therein lies a line that nobody but yourself can draw. Instead of giving up, when do I acknowledge and hopefully someday embrace that this person’s version of reality, of what they think life should be like, of the rules that should be in place etc…. and finally, after we embrace our differences, can we still love each other as that one guy did?

I really don’t think I can get along with everyone or love everyone; to me there are some rules that I don’t like and some rules that I love. Some instances where I use the word should and some moments when I distain the life out of the person who is telling me how I should be.

Before you read this next sentence hear me out. I suppose in the end, after getting off my comfortable and impressive high horse, my goal is to never give up on people. Not because I will always love them, but because I won’t “start” on them (that is the goal anyways … so far I’ve learned we are all human, so instead of planning not to fail let’s just prepare about how we relate to failure instead). You see I don’t think we can actually ever be objective in our approach, but maybe we can be objective about recognizing our subjectivity. But even that sounds like a push.  Subjectively dissecting our subjective approach to an objective reality. But is it really ever objective?

Besides the twelve disciples, I can’t really think of too many figures who Jesus actually sought after. Rather, he stood for what he stood for and after people were interested he would give them his take on things (although he might have seduced a few thousand by promising free fish and chips).

I’m not Jesus however, thank God (even if my father would like to think so if for no other reason than to assert that naturally he beckons the power of God). And since I’m not Jesus it will be simple to be the next best thing, me. And me does forget all the things I’ve written down and goes forth into the world sharing about what makes me happy, what looks right to me and somehow ironically enough when I run into people like me, God “agrees” with them (or so they think), which is confusing because God “agrees” with me too (or so me thinks).

But going back to that part about disappointment. What do we do when our reality doesn’t align with the real one? I guess that is every person’s choice. My choice would be to start figuring out how to re-arrange the “real” reality to look more like my fantasy one, but as fate would have it I’m an only child so I’ve been preconditioned as a stubborn bastard used to dwelling in a reality that looks close enough like the one I want. What else could I do after I’m done RESISTING reality? For starters, this, writing about it and realizing it.

When we face “it” (our load of emotions that we have bestowed upon ourselves because of the real junk that reality gave us even though we didn’t ask for it, even though we didn’t “deserve” it), we take the power from it and slowly can better embrace whatever it is, at least the good news is, no the great news is, WE get to decide what WE want it to be!

Man, doesn’t that sound like the best news of your life? We can turn getting arrested one crazy night with your friends into a life-changing lesson about how we relate to responsibility. We can take what we have learned from all those old relationships and use it to enhance our current ones. But not everything can be so bright and gay I’m afraid. Some experiences are just shit. Some just pain. And with my pain I acknowledge it and then tell it to catch the plane to Fargo and live in an igloo with unfriendly polar bears for the rest of my days. I know it’s not the “right” thing to do. The grieving process is an important one, which, if we skip, can numb us to the life process too. Maybe life isn’t just hit and miss. Maybe it is hit, miss and dismiss (and a lot of other things that end in iss).

Learning to accept reality for what it is as opposed to what it should be could be one of the greatest practices I’ve ever done. At least in this paradigm I go from seeing everything as imperfect towards everything “being perfect just the way it is.”

I don’t know how to end this long-drawn out thought. Hopefully it’s not the end, and clearly it’s not the beginning because many people, I’m sure, have had these thoughts, so I suppose I will “settle” for being whatever it is that I am being.