Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Courage to Change & The Joy of the Journey / Life of Pi

I'm sorry I haven't been as active recently on here. But to be honest, ever since I returned home from New York I haven't been quite sure what to say. New York was an experience that brought me a clarity I didn't expect; and although it was fleeting, it forced me to re-examine the path I'm headed down right now. So, I ask you candidly, how do you change your life?

Change is a frightening, magnificent constant. We change all the time as we grow, quite naturally. The interests we hold, the people we meet and let go of, the places we live, and the work we do. But what happens when that change is a choice and not an inevitable progression? When the change is a risk regardless of the direction but is the only way forward? I know risk, and I know change, but it's different this time. I have faced many paths but at the same time I was always determined and aware of what I wanted. For the first time, or in perhaps quite a long time, I find myself unsure of what it is that I want now, and if the path I've chosen will lead me to that phantom place. I can't speak in too much detail, for obvious reason, but I know now that unless I make a choice I will live in this stagnancy. I know, I feel it in my heart, that I've taken all that I can take; and I must change direction or live within it. The choice is a human choice, not a fateful choice, and in both cases I will lose something. But I do not fear the leap, I fear the transition. Nervousness has replaced conviction, and this stress has caused a division within myself. If I haven't been speaking like myself lately, it's inherently due to this. So, then, how do we change?

To change is to be courageous. We are so finite, being human, at least physically. Bound by the world that we live in and bound, even greater, but the social roles we often choose to adopt. It's a simple thing to imagine the lives we want to lead, but it takes an immeasurable amount of conviction and courage to adopt the cause, and eventually the role. Along the way we are faced with the constant reality of the effects our decisions will have; not only on ourselves but to those around us. The reality of living day to day and building a life while searching for a dream is a path that can never be simple. Though without it, and without the pain that it promises, it would perhaps be quite difficult to truly appreciate, with utmost gratitude, all that we had done. With the darkness the light is brighter, no?

I watched Life of Pi in theatres recently. It was magnificent, to say the very least, and was masterfully composed by director Ang Lee into a stunningly visual display that evolved with as much grace as the narrative itself.  There were wonderful metaphysical aspects of the film that resonated with me. The isolation of Pi and his dissociation from not only his origin but his relationship with God. I thought it was brilliant; the juxtaposition of his internal abyss with the pristine beauty of the Pacific "abyss". I don't think I completely grasped the power of Life of Pi when I originally viewed it; totally taken aback by it's beauty. But I think I understand it now, having internalized those images. The juxtaposition is more than just a dialectical and interesting balance; I think it signifies the beauty of struggle alone. That Pi's life, like ours, is filled with abyss, loneliness, deserts, and isolation as much as it is dotted with light, joy, and perpetual love. We yearn, strive, and leap towards the top of the hill, the peak of the mountain, to rid ourselves of the weight of existence. An idea, a hope, that at some point joy will be all we have. But the reality is that that cannot be. And it isn't that joy cannot exist on that level, it is more that life itself, the act of living, is the true joy. Pi's journey is an epic tale of grandeur and unimaginable conflict, but without his desolation he could never nearly comprehend the purity and grace of the light he felt at the end of it. The reason the journey is so stunning is because it is the beauty of the story, both figuratively and literally. God, in essence, was never away from Pi. As with the glow of the jellyfish painting the sea in a neon aqua, or the massive whale that leaped over Pi's small body without disturbing his voyage, or the simple island silhouetted in the shape of a Goddess, or perhaps Buddha, as if inviting Pi into itself. The lesson is that God is the journey; the divinity of life is the divinity of God. The peaks are our reflection of that beauty, but the beauty itself are the valleys in between. The details of the painting, the history of the painter.

It's difficult to plan life out for ourselves when the paths we take wind and twist unexpectedly. But without the challenge we cannot find the fulfillment. Struggle is a purity that equals the beauty of peace, in a sense, because it teaches us peace. It is hard and perhaps impossible not to feel fear being human, full of dreams and full of doubt; but true positivity comes from the courage to live with that fear, and then, eventually, surpass it. We live within the darkness but we must light our way through it. That is the courage of change; because, in essence, to live is to change. So I guess, regardless of my indecision, I will have to take that leap.

Stay healthy,

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