“One can resist the invasion of an army but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.” – Victor Hugo
Sometimes, I bite off more than I can mentally chew, resulting in large chunks of reflection required to adequately digest new information. Admittedly, I’ve been under the siege of ideas recently. When I consider the foundation of my spiritual practices and religious beliefs, it can be distilled into two maxims: Know Thyself and Self-Actualization. Synchronicity can strike at any time, and I find myself reading all kinds of inspirational, and frequently disparate articles, books and essays.
Unfortunately, sometimes the universe conspires to make me a glutton of new information, leaving me with my personal paradox: mentally hyper but physically paralyzed. Like a child who washed down a bag of halloween candy with three strong espressos, I find my mind racing from subject to subject, desperately searching for patterns and relationships, but somehow unable to translate it into anything meaningful or practical. Often it takes me awhile to sort through all of these new ideas before I can integrate them or talk about them. The past couple of weeks have been the most recent occurrence of this phenomenon.
I wasn’t feeling very well for a few days and took a break from my 6-times-a-week workout schedule until I felt better. At the same time, I noticed that my left elbow and my right hip/knee/ankle were feeling particularly stiff and achy, so I wanted to back off a bit. I confess that I’ve been feeling extra frustrated with the lack of movement on the scale as well. I am looking forward to completing Power 90 so that I can graduate to the Master Series. I am bored with the two alternating routines that comprise P90. I am also considering adding in some ballet to my regimen to encourage the long, lean body I enjoyed in high school. I am back in the game and will be posting my weekly “weigh-in” updates starting next Wednesday.
The Honest Courtesan
There are some authors who are so brilliant, they stun me into silence. If I imagine meeting a writer like J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman or Stephen King, I’m sure I would have nothing useful to say to them and could only choke out the words, “I love your work!” between hyperventilating gasps of air. Other authors however are brilliant in a different way and their work demands interaction; blogger Maggie McNeil is one such author.
Maggie is a sharp wit and if you enjoy living in the world of idealism and “should-land” I cannot recommend her at all because she will unapologetically challenge every reader to live in reality. She has also reminded me of my 20+ year love affair with both Camille Paglia and Robert Anton Wilson. I find myself wanting to go back and re-read all the work of both authors just to refresh my memory and fortify that core part of myself that is fiercely independent, anarchist and unconventional.
Forging a New Path
There are several blogs I’ve been reading that, like Maggie McNeil’s blog, focus on living an unconventional life, though they do so in a more general way as opposed to autobiographical narrative. The blogs I am most inspired by include Untemplater, Man vs. Debt, Fear.Less, and Chris Guillebeau (especially his A Brief Guide to World Domination). In addition to reading these blogs, I’ve been reading Jillian Michael’s book Unlimited. Unfortunately, reading Michael’s book is slow going because it is chock full of exercises and opportunities for practical application (which are really personal experiments which sometimes require more time than a mere 20-minutes of journaling).
If there is one thing these various blogs have in common, it is a recognition that leading the life you want to live requires a large helping of courage, resilience and tenacity because it is lonely business to hack through uncharted territory. I have often lamented that I can’t be satisfied with the status quo; that life would be much, much easier if I could just want to live the mediocre, cookie-cutter life that prime time tv and marketers world-wide tell me I should lead. I can see the comfort and reassurance in living that life, but I have also realized that my attempts to do so have been futile, evoking the words of Thoreau: “Most people lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to their graves with the song still in their heart.”
I first encountered Mark Reads when he was reading through Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. His style is so funny and engaging, that I kept on reading while he read each of the seven Harry Potter books and currently, His Dark Materials trilogy. I have rarely contributed to the conversations on his blog, but it does satisfy my need to pick through literature for hidden messages and subtle symbolism. Interestingly, I have been schooled in discriminatory language by reading his blog. Terms like “ableist” would have never been on my radar had I not followed Mark’s blog. Though I might not agree with the strict word usage policies, it isn’t my blog and if anything, it has made me more careful with the words I use.
I was lucky enough to get early registration for Pottermore, an interactive “world” created by JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. It will be open to all in October and looks to be great fun if you enjoyed the books and movies.