Monday, May 16, 2011

The Emotional Divide

As I look at my empty shearling slippers under my vanity, I think about where they came from.  A holiday sale at an Eddie Bauer store in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.  Wow, I have definitely come a long way from there as the start of engagement plans enters my vocabulary.  I think to myself, "If I am dating an Palestinian-Muslim guy now, my dad can't be so mad if he seemed totally OK with me dating a 8 years older divorcee".  I was too young then to truly to understand the reality of the situation.  So, how can I even fathom to understand the reality of my situation now?

Hindsight is 20/20.  You can always look back and understand better the world than you ever could when you're actually there, living it.  Was going to university my first year out of high school the best idea? No. Was going to Chicago that first year and spending way too much in borrowed money a good idea? No.  Was taking 5 years to graduate with a BA a good idea? No. Was dating those guys, falling in and out of love, and having a long distance romance a good idea? No.  I could say all these things were not good ideas, but in the end did they give me indispensable knowledge to make me a better human being? Yes.

A few close people to me would probably not like that I am writing about my relationships or romance on a blog. Yet,at the end of the day this is a part of who I am and how I grew to be me.  Love isn't just about calling your crush on the phone when you're 16 and hanging up when he says hello.  It's about the trial and error to know what you think love and commitment means at age 16, 19, 21, and again at 23 - and it doesn't end there. Yes, I'm still amazingly young, but I'm also just plain amazing.  I think I should be looked at as a beautiful, intellectual and rational young woman instead of a "watch your back" fragile feminine creature.  It's important to know that experiences teach.  It allows for the opportunity to grow and learn, without them it's near impossible for me to express my opinions or feelings in an elevated matter.

I am thankful for my education in understanding and my ever growing knowledge that is deepened by experience and study.  But emotions are not something you can comprehend through reading, you need to feel them, react to them, move past them.  It is about interaction.  I ask this question to myself a lot while living in the Middle East, "How can women and men expect to build a society of equality, progress and justice when most of their lives are still lived separately?" And I sit and ponder without ever coming up with a decent enough explanation.  I think it takes far longer than I think to create an answer for that one.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Balance, faith, and love

Yeah, I know it's too late to start writing at 10:15pm, but here I am breaking all the rules at an attempt to try to center myself... here I go.

Lately, the topic of conversation in my life as been about faith.  Now, I'm not just speaking about faith as in religion, but the word "faith" as loyalty, faith as sincerity, faith as firm belief.  Here's how Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines it:

Definition of FAITH

a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty(1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
(1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion(1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust
: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

The words echo in my mind, "loyalty... sincerity... belief..."

They just continue to repeat, never really fading away.  I have become guilty, so so guilty about the role of faith in my life (or lack thereof).  What does it mean?  How can I practice better faith? How can I truly be a strong individual with steadfast faith?  I want that! I desire that! I strive to become FAITHFUL.  But just merely thinking about that isn't going to help me achieve my desires or goals.  It isn't going to bring me to a place where I feel like for once I'm not afraid to conquer all that I fear with my limitless faith. So, I decided to pray more, to talk more, to study more.  All of which includes setting aside time, borrowing a Quran, and understanding really what it means to be "clean".

Above all, I wanted to continue this journey with someone close to me, someone I plan to grow old with, share a life with, someone I love.  And the more I want to deepen my faith and converse about these precious topics the more I feel it splits us apart.  I feel the wedge get pushed in a little deeper and it pains me to even try to attempt to talk about it.  That's the last thing I wanted to happen.  In fact, I wanted the exact opposite to be achieved.  I wanted to grow closer, to become wiser together.  I wanted to develop a spiritual relationship with this special person, how can I do that when every conversation ends in frustration, anger, and confusion?

I'm starting to think that this might just have to be a personal journey.  A journey that is between me and God and no one else.  I don't want to feel guilty for exploring other religions, beliefs and understands.  I don't want to feel as if I am going back on a decision I made.  What I do want is to feel like I am truly investigating and striving to find the truth.  This path of service seems empty, but I think I am here in this land for a reason, and not just, "hayk".  I hope it becomes more evident each day and the path is made clear for me.  I am reminded of a beautiful Baha'i prayer,

"O Lord, my God, open thou the door, provide the means, make safe the path, prepare the way. Verily tho art The Help In Peril, The Self-Subsisting. Ya Baha'u'l'Abha."

And it is these words that I start my new day with, in hope and faith that I may continue my search for the truth.

The Slow Mo Guys - Droplet Collisions at 5000fps

This may make me the nerdiest person ever, but honestly I was thoroughly impressed by the magic of something so simple. God created some radical things and the fact that we now can witness it with the help of a camera that shoots 5,000 frames per second, has made me realize how amazing His creation truly is.  Check it out!