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Thursday Thought #138: I Am Prejudiced

I am prejudiced. I was raised to blindly trust teachers, but learned of many in later years who betrayed the trust and safety of their students. I grew up believing that people with money and white picket fences didn't have any "real" life problems, later learning how true tragedy can strike any socioeconomic level. I long believed that having mental health issues meant flying off the handle -- and that people who smiled and hugged and laughed couldn't also experience long periods of depression or even suicidal thoughts. Until I didn't. The meaning of prejudice is just "pre-judgment". A pre-judgment based on social conditioning or media, or a set of firsthand experiences -- regardless of the number. Or perhaps all three factors, and more. Sometimes these pre-judgments are useful. They allow us to quickly assess danger or move toward safety and community. But pre-judging can also be dangerous. It can prevent us from seeing and considering the individual person right in front us. It can fool us into thinking that our outside perception of a person or situation is reflective of the truth in the background. As often as I can, I try to replace prejudice with critical thinking. It's very easy to fall back into heuristics, to let an automatic reaction or a pattern of behavior dictate how we treat other people or how we even engage social issues. So bringing our prejudices to the table and exposing them will allow us to connect with people more quickly, and understand where they're coming from. But more importantly, it allows us to build solutions to complex social situations. I am prejudiced. And I always will be. But so are all of us. The question is, what will we do about that? How can we engage other without malice to bring…
Dan Stubbs
June 8, 2018
Self

Thursday Thought #135: Capturing Your Vision

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” - Gospel of Thomas Have you ever had a vision? A vision to create something that does not exist. Something that's true to your essence and perhaps lies in a core desire. There's an energy that calls us towards the things that we believe in -- the things that were made perhaps only for us. Sometimes those callings don't make sense to the outside world. Sometimes they don't even make sense to us. But we follow them nevertheless. They don't always lead to points of satisfaction. Sometimes, they lead to points of frustration, disappointment, even pain. Visions can be heavy yearnings experiences. It's hard to relate a concept that's in our minds and in our soul -- one that feels as real as the objects right in front of our eyes -- to another human being who does not see the same experience from within ourselves. It can feel like rejection when someone doesn't buy into an idea that you believe has a real merit for beauty and power. Vision requires belief and a faith in yourself and your muse. It comes with the wonderful exaltation of the feeling of completing something that is meaningful to you. And if you birth it...it just might change the course of someone's life, or of aneighborhood, or of an epoch. Vision is the voice that says someday. For if you do not birth what you see, no one else will ever see what you had the gift of beholding. #Thursdaythought
Brenton Weyi
May 18, 2018
Thursday Thought

Thursday Thought #132: The Power of a Name

“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” -- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone What's your name? When a new entity enters into the world, its christened with the same small ritual that has solidified every being since time immemorial: it's given a name. There's a lot of power in naming. Things that are nebulous and dark are able to haunt us in the shadows of our memory or perhaps even the caverns of the real world -- formless, intangible, ineffable. . Whole civilizations have been tormented by nameless specters. But giving something a label -- a name -- strips it of its mystery and perhaps even some of its danger: a ghost, a mental ailment, a devastating sickness. It helps the mind to put a container around fear and arms it with a particular plan of action. Names can also help us work through emotional pain and trauma. "It was abuse." "I was betrayed." They help to open up a path to closure. They bring definition to healing. However, names can also be restricting. They can deceive us into thinking that a certain label is now an identity we have to adhere to. A simple label given in early can confer an inescapable identity for years to come -- one that may not even serve us. So we must take care of the power of names. For, like so many powerful things in this world, they have the equal power to confer life -- and also to destroy it. Making the unknown...known. That's a world-shifting prospect .
Brenton Weyi
May 1, 2018
SelfThursday Thought

Thursday Thought #70: Context

Margaret Atwood once said that "Context is all." We are all informed by the tenets of our cultural landscape. What we hold to be  precepts of living are dictated by the assumptions and invisible rules that are assimiliate within us from birth. But everything is context.  Our beliefs on customs of race, class and gender semi; our beliefs on how much to prioritize family and friends versus work; our beliefs on how much we connect with nature...is all environmentally informed. We are not taught to think critically about these beliefs. Were not taught to examine which beliefs we proactively desire to adopt and which ones are just there because they are passive vestiges of times longsince gone. Oftentimes the best way to get a good grip on the structures of our context is actually to remove ourselves from it. Placing yourself in a new environment with different value systems and belief sets will expose to you which beliefs of yours are actually just assumptions It will also expose the power of cultural relativism: the idea that it's difficult to judge but customs or effects of a different culture without actually understanding and immersing oneself in it first. Some things that we may see around the world might seem backwards or ludicrous, but then when we look at the system in which it's actually entrenched, it reveals itself to make quite a bit of sense. Not everything should be simply accepted because of cultural relativism or empathy for other belief systems; but removing yourself from your assumptions can at least give you the tools to ask the right questions and come up with answers that are empowering to you. It also provides a powerful lens to examine the stories that we tell ourselves about our own identity, and how "true" those…
Brenton Weyi
April 20, 2018
SelfThursday Thought

Thursday Thought #69: The End

We are often taught to pursue things that are means, a good salary, recognition, material possessions.. But we are rarely encouraged to pursue things that are ends. The idea of ends is also a constant reminder of life's suspended fragility. That the putting off of things that are meaningful to us may not be readily available tomorrow. People are ends. Doing the work that is a meaningful to us is an end. Living and creating and exploring and learning and growing are all ends. And yet so often were encouraged to take circuitous paths through a means toward these ends -- at times forgetting what all the wandering toil is for. There is always an opportunity to go directly to an end. To take time to enjoy a deep breath or a moment of pause or a moment to look at the world or a moment to connect with the someone who matters to you. And not to get caught up in the cacophony of means. May we pursue the ends -- before the end.
Brenton Weyi
April 20, 2018
SelfStoriesThursday Thought

Thursday Thought #68: The Mystery of Life

There is a great sense of mystery as we go about living life. Even though we seek stability in home, relationships and even in things as banal as the weather, there always remains a veil of mystery as to what unexpected elements will find themselves on our path. Life is the ultimate mystery and the brain the ultimate unpuzzler. And the spirit lives for this mystery: the ultimate transformer looking to take the ineffable and make it ordered, tangible. And is the greatest game that human collossus will ever concern itself with. The irony of this mystery of life is that we're always seeking to solve it with certainty. And yet, we simultaneous seek to revel in the novelty of obfuscation. I've already heard that story -- the tell tale sign that we've lost that magical element of mystery that brings out the bright curiosity in all of us. I've never been of the belief that the mystery of life will be fully unraveled. We can map out the electron moving about in its orbital, but as soon as we've puzzled it all out and go to confirm our groundbreaking observation's, the spritely spirit moves and smiles at us to go back to work and keep the game going. Our longest standing assumptions and titanic theories are ever crumbling under the enveloping of mystery. Even work is mystery. As we continue to give concerted effort into a particular endeavor, we have no certainty as to what abilities will come to us with time or even when there will be fruits for our labor -- if there are to be fruits at all.  And so it goes in this continued ebb and flow of discovery and concealment. Passed on from generation to generation to welcome the unexpected and puzzle through the gripping…
Brenton Weyi
April 5, 2018
SelfThursday Thought

Thursday Thought #67: Breaking and Mending

"The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places." -- Hemingway They say that optimism and joie-de-vivre toward the world is an affectation of youth. That those who remain soft will give way to the breaking forces of the harsh world. Those who maintain the vibrant glows of belief into old age are oft written off as naive or out of touch. But the fact of the world the world is that it has smooth corners, but also many jagged edges. And eventually, we will collide with one of these jagged edges. And we will be hurt. There is no possibility. There is only inevitability. No interpretation. This truth is one of the commonalities that forges the linking thread of the human spirit. I can't count how many times I've been enveloped by the heavy darkness, that incumbent weight on Atlas's back waiting to break him at a moment's notice. A loved one parting from the world. A separation. A devastation. Or even that nebulous sense of human longing that at times overcomes the spirit to fill it with an essence it can never capture. But in that heaviness is often the lightness. The capacity to reforge something as forcefully as it was torn asunder. I've always been fascinated by the Japanese art of kintsugi. When a ceramic object -- often a bowl -- is broken, it is not discarded. Instead, it is remade with gold. And those striking scars within the bowl or object make it vibrantly beautiful -- and singularly unique -- never to be remade again. For when something has suffered damage and has a history. Instead of trying to hide defects and cracks, these are accentuated and celebrated, as they have now become the strongest part of the piece. Softness it not…
Brenton Weyi
April 4, 2018
Thursday ThoughtUncategorized

Thursday Thought #66: Our Inner Critic

The inner critic is always there. A homunculus hanging out in the hardest to reach caverns of our mind constantly trumpeting the siren song of inadequacy. Reminding us that someone else can do it better, someone else can get there faster, someone else can be it easier. The homunculus is born from the indoctrination of the belief that the tallest blade of grass always gets cut down: that if we stand out, we risk the danger of envy or isolation. So if someone else does not cut us down, we serves the scythe ourselves. But is this true? If it is, why do we so often look longingly at the blades shining brightly in piercing sun -- getting a view of the world we so desperately wish for ourselves? Why do we wish to silence the negative voice? Quieting the homunculus is not about going to battle with it. It's about acknowledgement. It's about a acknowledging the fact that it's there for a reason: often doing its faithful job to protect us from pain or anguish. For it's often not fear itself that arrests us, but rather the pain -- or potential pain -- of shame. Shame is the greatest saboteur of creativity. Unlike anger or sadness, it cannot be transposed. It is simply immobilizing. So overcoming shame means removing the conditions for its arrival. This requires trust. It requires a trust in ourselves in knowing that we only have to reveal as much of ourselves or our work as we are willing to. If we trust in ourselves to consciously expand that willingness incrementally -- just one extra inch, or one extra micrometer -- then those micro meters accumulate into miles and those miles converge into a bridge to a braver self. But this is some of the hardest,…
Brenton Weyi
March 24, 2018
SelfThursday Thought

Thursday Thought #65: The Power of Micro Hurts

(note: Last week's Thursday Though was on the micro. And this week, I look to continue to explore the shift and power of the imperceptible and seemingly insignificant). A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything." It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down. I wish we would mind the micro hurts more often. We give great attention and restorative energy to the large, heavy traumatic experiences that many of us have had. But what of the small hurts? The side comments, or rejections, or moments of being made to feel small? It's…
Brenton Weyi
March 16, 2018
Thursday Thought

Thursday Thought #64: One Tiny Shift

If you change the degree at which you launch an object by just one, you will shift its entire trajectory.  One change in code in DNA can disrupt the functioning of an entire organism. The one greatest threat to the domain of man is the virus. We're so often focused on making waves or shaking the Earth. But big movements are created by seismic micro shifts. One of my favorite aspects of language is the prevalence of the misquotation of idiomatic expressions. In this case, one that is immensely applicable, and often uttered, is that "The devil is in the details." But how the expression originally went was: "God is in the details." The meaning got twisted in reversed somewhere in the continuous flows of  the river of time. But this feels a lot more true of the world. When we look at Fibonacci sequences or the beautifully intricate geometry of leaves, of the amazing mycological ecosystems of mushrooms that are made up of these tiny seemingly sporadic organisms, we see Mother Nature minding every tiny detail. When we think about an entire ecosystem, with tiny bees pollinating one flower at a time and steadily doing their noble work, and flowers drawing on the nutrients from above and below to in turn provide nutrients to the animals in their ecosystem, we see the mighty reduced to the minimal. And so it goes, so on and so forth. But if were to remove one simple component of that equation, the mighty bee, then the entire eco system falls apart. Something so seemingly small, so seemingly trivial on the surface, represents the lynchpin of this very powerful system. In this same way, every massive movement  machine or mammal is made up of its rather small and seemingly insignificant component parts. And so…
Brenton Weyi
March 9, 2018