Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hello, America. I think you lied: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of... Whaaa?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are crated equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." 
--As adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776
Well, thank you, forefathers. I do appreciate all you have done for our country, but is the pursuit of happiness really an unalienable "right" that you can, or want, to promise me? For, even if this profession is legitimized and regarded, is not one man's pleasure another man's pain? When my pursuit of happiness infringes upon my fellow patriot's own pursuit of happiness, whose unalienable rights will my country defend? And perhaps more importantly, even if I am promised the liberty to pursue happiness, and my country tells me I deserve this pursuit, is happiness actually a worthwhile endeavor, among the ranks of Life and Liberty?

And my beginning is really where I end. This rebellion against the most-quoted phrase of our country's most-cherished document is not a spawn of anarchy or separatism, but my skepticism stems from several recent experiences with this idea of the pursuit of happiness and it's validity.

Just over a week ago, a friend from work was showing me some exercises her daughter and husband had completed together in a little bonding activity. Each was to answer a few questions about the other, and one of the questions asked for the thing his/her daughter/father wanted out of life. The daughter, 13 years old, answered that her dad probably "just wants to be happy." Noble enough. And at the time, I actually sighed with a gentle smile of tenderness because this seemed like a precious analysis on part of her daughter and a healthy desire for her husband.

Later on in the week, I was in a discussion among peers, and we were contemplating life plans and unknown futures and possible adventures. As of late, I have also been exploring the intriguing power of vision (a clear, precise idea of a preferable future). So after sharing this idea, I asked--not where they saw themselves in 5/10 years--but who they wanted to be, and what they really wanted out of life. There are so many answers to this question. People want certain jobs, distinct lifestyles, set family structures, and sometimes checks on a bucket list. These are all wonderful things to want out of life. However, we all know that the most enlightened answer to the Life Goals Question is the simple, pure, respectable response... happiness. So I was curious to receive their responses. And the unanimous heartfelt-reply from among my circle of cohorts was, in fact: sustained happiness. I want to guard against belittling this reply. I see no fault in such a responses, and I am thankful even, for the thematic repetition--these occurrences led me to explore new frameworks of thought. Yet, with each recurrence of this expressed desire, I became increasingly uneasy with the ideal I had always regarded.

And the culminating experience came as I was scrolling through my Podcasts on my way in to work. An episode entitled, "The Problems of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" caught my eye. Anti-climatically, the context was actually regarding the plagiarism within our country's founding documents. Yet, even so, the title struck me in a profound moment of clarity and/or realization. If there were ever a light-bulb moment in my life, this may take the cake.

Follow me here. You see, when we identify our goals and expectations for our lives, we begin to see how many of our conscience and/or unconscious decisions have been aligned (or maligned) to these desires. Thus, working to identify our desires becomes valuable in beginning to understand our behaviors. In turn, learning to recognize our behaviors helps to analyze our attitudes and assessments in the context of our life goals and actions (harmful or helpful) in the pursuit of these goals. Therefore, knowing what we want from Life is very important. And if we all want/hope for/and deserve (through the promises of our country) happiness, why is this "simple" state so elusive?

And then it hits me. There seems to be a fundamental misconception underlying the constitutional pursuit of happiness.

Now, before I am branded a cynic, let me be the first to say--I am in no way harping on the fundamental state of happiness. To be happy is a beautiful, blissful gift--certainly to be desired, treasured, and cherished. I have no criticism of the enjoyment, or even aspiration, of happiness. My concerns lay in the promises of happiness which have penetrated and infiltrated our society and the expectation of happiness in our culture, which lead to the misguided emphasis of happiness in our lives and the dissatisfaction when our highest desire remains unrequited.

But I digress... When our world, our government, and our society all seemed fixated on providing, protecting, and pursuing happiness, it is only natural that we individually take on this value as virtue. Happiness seems to be the most simple and most universal form of pleasure. At times, I would even classify the nature of happiness as frivolous because of its conceptually jolly and light associations. Our government finds Happiness important enough to recognize its necessity within humanity among the ranks of Life and Liberty. And our media bombards us with the promises of achievement--if we buy this product, or do that workout, or donate to this organization--then, we will find happiness.

The media is no dummy. Such propaganda is not explicit, but the media recognizes our often futile efforts in pursuit of an answer to happiness. And then they exploit the expressions of our desires by using images of sunny days, smiles, bright gardens, beautiful faces, and perfect families to remind us that happiness is indeed something we really want. And their messages are aimed at telling us that what they have will help us find what we really want. Thus, the cycle of the Virtuoso Happy perpetuates. The more we are reminded of what we want, the more we actually want it. And the more we actually want it, the more we are willing to pursue it. For, the more intent on our pursuit we become, the more we will be willing to explore and sacrifice. And the more willing and desperate we become in our quest, the more their marketing becomes effective. Repeat cycle.

So, this idea of happiness is all around us. Yet, so many of us seem plagued in our pursuits. And even in my own experience--and I have had an admittedly blessed, and comparatively easy, life--there are times when "happy" seems the farthest impossibility for my heart. If I subscribe to the broadcasts of my surroundings, and adopt a life set on happiness, in these moments, I am failing. Not only am I not happy, but I am now a failure, as well. I don't see how this continuation formulates positively...

And I don't think happiness is meant to pervade every moment of our every day. Otherwise, how would we be sensitive the the hurting of others? Empathy would be impossible if we had no relative experience. And it would be a very cruel world if there were a lucky few that could sustain happiness, while the rest of us merely scrapped for it. Thus, on each plane of validation, I find happiness to be a misguided focus. Our life goals would be much more promising if we could somehow affect our progress by making intentional choices that would move us towards our goal. Even in Latin, "felix," the root of the word "happy," refers to luck, a good omen, favorable fortune, or fruitful blessings. All of the word associations of "felix" refer to external and circumstantial concepts. The concept of happiness does not offer individuals a lot of dominion, and the manifestation of our missed attempts in our limited capacity results in dissatisfaction and self-demoralization.

If this had not been convincing enough, I then evaluated my entitlement to happiness through the lens of my faith. Unfortunately, or not, God does not promise us the same rights to happiness as our government does. He speaks far more to the state of suffering, and the blessings therein. Joy, however, is mentioned quite often throughout the Text, yet this seems to be a fundamentally distinct experience to happiness. Also, joyfulness is certainly given distinction and included in the fruits of a follower of Christ, yet God has given His followers some very explicit goals and directions regarding His desire for us, which do not omit, but also do not specifically state joy or happiness. (I have taken a few liberties with verb tenses and pronouns as I have woven together a selection of verses to connect this concept. Verse references below.)

This is the first and greatest commandment. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like the first: Love your neighbor as yourself. Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Cling to what is good. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. For, those that have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. Do not seek your own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. The redemption that He brought represents both His own love and that of the Father for the whole world. You are the light of the world...Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. So live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. For His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

[Tit 2.7 + 2.14 + 3.8]  [Mth 5.16 + 6.13]  [Jhn 13.35]  [Hbr 10.34]  [Col 3.14 + 3.2]  [1Tim 2.4]  [1Cor 10.33 + 13.13]  [2Ptr 3.9]  [Rms 12.9]  [Mrk 12.30]

So, it seems that God would have us seek a life of love and goodness. Well, this just makes so much sense. If I am fixated on a life of love and goodness, I have immediately placed my life goals outside of myself. Selfishness and entitlement are perhaps the two most toxic poisons in our culture. In directing my heart towards a state of love and goodness, I have immediately accepted sacrifice, service, patience, and humility. I think the world could handle at least a few more people with intentions as these. Secondly, God's plan for the redemption of the entire world is just that--redemption for the entire world! A life of Goodness is available to all, at all times, in any circumstance. Happiness is contingent upon so many external factors, it appeared that success would only be granted to the "lucky few." God's plan is to offer redemption and reconciliation to the entire world, and his mean of accomplishing His plan is to give us the same charge.

The third improvement underlying God's desire for our lives is that we instantly receive true liberty to pursue our goals. With the gift of free will, we become the master's of our own destiny. Our heart's desire is no longer tied to the caprice of our emotions and the circumstance of our environment, but we can make decision--directed by goodness and love--that will grant us immediate and multiple successes within our journey. Our goals can be assessed day-to-day, or within a moment's waiver. When we mess up, as we will, we can be all-the-more convicted to align our thoughts and actions with the truest desire of our hearts the next time. Our utmost desire should be to love God by loving our world in pursuing Goodness, that they may see and know the love He has shown us, which also remains in Him.

To be fair, those in pursuit of happiness often act in Love and Goodness regualrly. More than likely, they recognize a connection between this practice and their evaluation in their own pursuit--and this may offer fulfillment for a brief period. But as evidenced in the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants, the effects ware over time and disappointment and discontentment settle back in. "Goodness, for goodness' sake," is a strikingly different hue than "goodness for happiness sake." For, when the end has been mistaken for the means, the maintenance of doing good in order to be happy becomes a cumbersome burden. Mathematically, the equation is false. [Good+Love≠Happy].

By shifting our focus away from the state of self and towards the embodiment of Goodness and Love, we take on the easy yoke. For in the pursuit of love and goodness, our intentions are pure. Our hearts are free from circumstance, and we have been given all authority to testify with the faith and works of Goodness and Love. And when we sense the blessings of our intentions, I believe full-heartedly that happiness will find us. Happiness is no longer the sum of our desires, but it becomes the byproduct. Perhaps the more true mathematical statements are [Goodness=Love=Goodness], where also [Love=Happiness×F^(∞)=Goodness]. And assuming the yoke of love, we no longer have to grasp and claw at dust in the wind, but in following closely the footsteps of the Rabbi--the greatest image of the Father's Love--the dust of the His sandals will coat us so thickly that we could not scrub the happiness from between our toes if we tried.

as always, thanks for stopping by.
and quite appropriately, stay dusty.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Freedom is Love: A Mathematical Proof Using Biblical Axioms

In honor of Pi π Day 3.14 [repeating] 
Here is a (surely faulted, yet inriguing) Logical Proof using analytic proof and natural deduction to prove the relationship between Freedom and Love.  I will work this over more in Excel, where I have access to mathematical symbols and representations, but I wanted to get this posted today, so here it is in all its rawness and fallacy. 
Proof:  Freedom is Love. 
Axiom Analysis:  The Biblical Text (Statements/Confession, not Opinion) 
Axiomatic Statement: 
If there is Christ, there will be freedom. 
Arithmetic Representation: 
[Galations 5.1]  For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 
Logic Statement: 
When there is freedom, there is necessarily Christ. 
Arithmetic Representation: 

Axiomatic Statement:  
The Christ is Jesus.  
Arithmetic Representation:  
[Acts 18.28 b]  ...showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.  
Axiomatic Statements:  
Jesus is the Way.  Jesus is the Truth.  Jesus is Light.  
Arithmetic Representation:  
Jesus=the Way, Jesus=Truth, Jesus=Light 
[John 14.6]  Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. 

Logic Statement: 
Jesus is conversely the Way is Truth is Light. 
Arithmetic Representation 
Jesus=the Way=Truth=Light 

Axiomatic Statement:  
The Word is necessarily Light.  
Arithmetic Representation  
Word=Light, however (Light=Word, or Light[\=]Word)  
[Psalm 119.105]  Thy Word is a Light unto my path. 
Axiomatic Statement: 
The Word is God. 
Arithmetic Representation 
[John 1.1]  In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
Axiomatic Statement: 
God is Love. 
Arithmetic Representation: 
God=Love AND Love=God 
[1 John 4.8] Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 

Conclusive Statement:  
Jesus is God. 
Arithmetic Representation: 
If [(Jesus=Christ) AND (Christ=the Way) AND (the Way=the Word) AND (the 

Conclusive Proof: 
Freedom is Love.   

Arithmetic Representation: 
If[(Freedom=Christ) AND (Christ=the Way) AND (the Way=the Word) AND (The 
Word=God) and (God=Love)]^ (Freedom=Love)


Jesus=Freedom-->>  Jesus=Christ

Jesus=The Way & Jesus=Truth & Jesus=Light
Freedom=the Way=Truth=Light

The Word=Light-----
God=The Word------
Jesus=The Way=Light=The Word=God

Challenge all you know.  Have faith in all you can't.  

Stay dusty.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Like a Kite: Flight of Identity + Environment

I promised more. Funny how things just develop when we allow them to. I think Freud called it Free Association, but I call it FreeThink. If you are not really a Freud enthusiast, my sentiment may somewhat align with yours--the guy seems largely over-venerated. But I must say, I am totally a fan of this practice. So hang with me because here we go.

Identity is a funny thing. We are supposed to have a strong sense of it, yet it is not concrete. Within the framework of Identity, lies a dynamic cord of change and evolution. We are all products of our tendencies, environments, and choices--and two of the three factors, we have little-to-no control over. When we go to battle in this world each day, we choose the banner we will fight under--for that banner is our identity, and worth our lives. ("His banner over me is love," anyone?). But how are we to recognize our banner when the whipping winds beat against our flag in a raging war parade, hiding the emblem that gives us our name?

Abandoning pretension--how are we to understand the evolving nature of our identity?

Well, I imagine a kite. Yup. Childish, I know. And quite a shift of metaphor, at that. But I love kites, and this seems to work for me.

To begin, a kite soars with brilliance and majesty in high winds. A kite in flight, seems to function as a working (used as "functioning appropriately") identity. The winds of our environment act as the force that keeps a kite in flight. Yet in a moment, this same force can also send a kite spiraling towards its demise.

Interestingly, Greek mythology dedicates an entire team of gods to the shifting nature and awesome power of the winds. The four Anemoi (wind gods) are given sovereignty over the seasonal weather conditions--each residing in the realm from where their respective winds originate. Boreas blows a cold northern chill through the winter. The gusty blows from Old Man Eurus travel west across the Atlantic bringing warm rain and often a stoke of ill-fortune. Notus' deep, stormy whippings from the south usher in autumn and build anticipation of the fall harvest. And then Zephyrus, the messenger of spring, sends promises of renewal with his soft, gentle breeze from the west. 

The elaboration of these four winds may seem a bit frivolous, yet this variation speaks to me when I equate the mood of the winds with the situations or circumstances in life.  The four seasons embody clearly distinct climates, yet within each season, the environment also varies from day-to-day.  Similarly, in life, we may identify a certain "season" as a cold winter's frost, yet during the grey winter, the sun may and peek out, as if mimicking the groundhog, just to check if it is time to break from its hibernation.  For neither does life persist in a torrential, stormy autumn eternity, nor will it result in an everlasting string of balmy spring days. Life parallels this seasonal mix with days spanning the spectrum from devastating to jubilant, and every shade of melancholy in between.  Yet in each season, carried in by the breath of the winds, kites can fly.  And in this realization, I am boldly reminded that the circumstances of our life do not seem to affect our kites ability to fly. Circumstances do affect us, but the success of our identity is not contingent upon the season.  

To ground this analogy (No pun intended. Just kidding. Of course, "Pun intended."), the kite (which I see functioning like our identity) may sail through any of four the winds. Sure, the unpleasant whipping winds of Boreas are cold and may seem unbearable; but even so, their angry motion holds our kite up in the sky. And then the gentile Zephyrus graces our flight with subtly, and offers a chance to comfortably soar. This is the quintessential vision of a father and son flying kites at a park--a reassuring image and a comfort to follow the storms.

Yet I would propose that these soft summer winds offer perhaps the greatest threat to our sailing kites. More so even than the rage in an autumn storm. So beware--because a grounded kite is not mostly the result of gusty blows. The spring may be the most pleasurable interval, yet this season's comfort can be artfully deceiving. Even in the blue-skied felicity, we can find ourselves, for lack of wind, fighting to stay in flight. And under the most unremarkable of circumstances, we may find that the subtle winds that granted us rest have suddenly died, and there is no wind to hold us in the air.

Yet, this is where the analogy really works for me. I see points of maintaining the flight of a kite that transition into practices that will allow us to maintain a strong sense of identity. Firstly, we must learn to read and interpret our environment. So often, we become comfortable sailing in the spring winds. We enjoy the blue skies and and ride easy in the passivity that often accompanies pleasure. Let me be the first to say--take in the blue skies. Breath deep the fresh, easy winds. Appreciate the halcyon serenity that finds you. This confirmed--do not become a latent kite, ignoring the indications of egress. For when, and if, the vitalizing winds die, how will your kite continue to fly? Will you fall victim to the caprice of the changing winds? Will the sudden stagnancy send you spiraling towards the ground? Or were you embracing the good flight, yet also continuing your good practices of assessing your surroundings. 

Contrastingly, a raging storm, although frightening, rarely grounds an unaware victim. We know of the coming threat, are alerted to the building danger, and are diligent in finding safety. We are looking for the darkening clouds and listening for the coming rain and thunder.  Yet peace often lends itself to latency. Therefore, even in the balmy rhythm of springtime, we must practice the same diligence, observation, and assessment of threats and coming danger. When in doubt, we seek a safety zone that will keep us in flight. Even in the sunshine, always seek the place where the leaves still rustle in proof of the wind and the wild flower continues to sway in humble submission. Then, when the wind dies down, or the storm becomes too violent, let the breeze move you there, where the winds will still hold you up.

Also, consider the parts of a kite and it's construction.  A kite is designed to fly--not to swim or skim dry land. We, too, should pay mind to our composition and find the habitat that will allow us to function at our optimum. 

Also, a kite has someone on the ground at the other end of our tether, helping direct our flight. Who do we trust to help maintain our line?  A tree would probably not keep a kite sailing for too long. Nor would a 3-year old.  If we are acting as the kite, we may choose the person that stands below us holding the spool of our line.  I see the kite-flier as a mentor figure--someone primarily to offer a different perspective.  Also, a mentor should be person that has an interest to see us fly and will invest in our well-being.  And perhaps most importantly, we must find a confidant whom will use his discernment to offer us more slack on the line, or be willing to give a hard yank on our spool to keep us in air.   

Now, the circumstance of flying a kite has a few stipulations.  We need wind. We need an aerodynamic crafty construction.  And the kite must be connected to a line that can be maneuvered from the ground.  For, we do not classify releasing a loose diamond-shaped construction into heavy winds, "flying a kite."  No...that is more appropriately termed "littering."  A kite must have a line tying us to the ground.  Sure, a kite without a string may float across swirling winds for a short time, but the changing winds will carry the unanchored sail far away from it's launch pad. And most frighteningly, the severed flight of a kite unhitched, will terminate in certain injurious grounding. 

Without any rope to help reign in the momentum of a crushing descent, the inertia of a careless flight will only decrease the odds of repair. Resilience's is a gift to humanity, and there is much we can overcome, but the crash of a loose kite may be the equivalent of a totaled car.  

In our lives, we should not ever trust that capricious winds will sustain the flight of our kites. We must remain connected and grounded. The earth will always be below us, and will forever be the launch pad of basic foundations of our flight. Even when we find ourselves meeting the dusty floor time and time again, our base is always available to see us off for another round. The gravity that pulls us back to the earth is the very law that makes the flight of a kite magical. The opposing forces of inertia, gravity and motion all result in a task that although rewarding, requires work.

Becoming us isn't easy, but then again, do we really have another option? A kite in a closet deserves to fly. Perhaps its time I regard the task of being me as an equal entitlement.

Well, thanks for reading. Be encouraged. Seek Good and do Love.

Stay dusty.

Friday, March 4, 2011

To Do in Your 20s: Developmental Goals, Teased-Out as of Now

Well, someone recently alerted me that in our 20s, the primary developmental tasks are to find a career, decide if we want to be with a life partner (and sometimes, who that partner is), and build a solid identity structure for who we are.  Well, I have my work cut-out for me as the 3-decade marker approaches with rapidly increasing momentum.  I remember when 30 seemed so far away.  I had always envisioned myself adopting around age 30, married or not.  But now (half-way to 27), I realize that I would have to start the process... eh... immediately.  Not quite there.  So--adoption agencies, you can call off the national alert.  Stand down--I'm nowhere near filling out the paperwork.  

But for me, all these goals ultimately reduced to "security."  We want to know "What up" with life and how we are going to "get ours."  Well, I don't have a career, nor a solid direction on that.  No husband or vow of celebacy from me.  And the identity deal, well, who really knows.  So, I should have titled this post, "Brittney fails at everything Twenty."  But I don't really believe that.  And in my defense, I really wish someone would have told me I was supposed to be doing these things when I was on the starting-side of the continuum!  Not really. All in good time.   But I decided that these things would be good to consider, so I got me thinking.  

The career goals make sense, more or less.  And that is pretty straight forward.  However, I learned that I actually don't have any career goals presently.  Ha. Fail. But, I am taking the reigns on this one and building some exciting ideas.  I do know that, in my career I want to feel purposeful, be able to serve, have flexibility, always have the opportunity for learning and growth, and be a part of a community, of sorts.  So nothing specific, but goals for when I get the specific-part angled down.  To prove my commitment to this goal--because I actually have to work to care about it--I am currently taking a few aptitude+interest tests to get some direction (I think most people took these in high school or college.  Whoops.)  I also spent some solid hours on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.  It was pretty helpful, actually.  For anyone else considering career paths, the site is organized by area of education or interest.  It then outlines specific job descriptions, field-requirement information, personality types within the field, salary information and industry trends.  It was fun looking and fantasizing, but it also offered a dose of reality.  You can check out the percent of the market pursuing certain careers, growing or shrinking markets, the expectations and lifestyles of certain jobs, and even the requirements and ladder-of-ascent within career paths.  I can still say I am not really driven by any career accomplishments, although I do I have ideas, and I have considered a work environment I would to want and want to serve.  

Then we have the whole marriage thing.  Probably a pretty important one to address, but I can honestly say, I have no clue if marriage is something I want.  I just want life.  I know that may seem idealistic, but really--whatever it is, I want it.  Marriage seems like a really fun thing, to be sure.  But then, romantic love seems confusing.  However, I remain convinced that the real kind is actually simple.  I don't know if my decisions/my life will lend itself to a life-friend/love/partner/husband, but for the first time, I am at least actually open to the idea (WEIRD).  I honestly think I wouldn't lay heavy on the brakes, or take a quick detour to avoid "something" (friendship, etc.) where roads cross (a Quintessential Brittney-Maneuver).  However, I am also not taking a road trip searching for Mr. Right (But, hey--where is Mr. Left, anyhow?  I think he's my guy.).  Anyhow, by that, I just mean that I am not avoiding those situations and opportunities where the whole boy-meets-girl scenario could happen.  I feel peace in this place, and I think it has allowed me to find a freedom with myself.  I am practicing a new communion with my friends that I could never quite grasp before, and I think it is related to this shift in attitude.  I think the word is "Connect."  You know, really let them in.  Though I continue to seek God's wisdom before that of men, God really has me working my longitudinal relationships these days, and I am so excited about it.  I need people, and in needing them, I am thankful for them.  And in my gratitude, I find love for them.  I am pretty sure this would help me be a better mate, too.  No single person can fulfill your every need.  There is no one that can have every conversation with you.  But this is why God gave us community, along with family.  So, I guess this all brings me to the point that I admit that I would like marriage.  It really does seem rad.  But I still can't be sure if I am willing to mark it as a goal.  There are too many other things I want before marriage.  What if I had to give those up?  Thus, marriage remains on the To Do list, but more like the "Change my air filter" task.  Not gonna hustle to get it done, but when it's time, and I have the opportunity to buy the right filter, I'll put in the work to trade-out.  Time for some fresh air.  

And on that note, I find the savory meat of this post.  This is the real reason I wrote.  
***WHICH, became an entirely different post after I got started.  So, here is the brief Identity Discourse picked up after I was done writing the first time.****

But the next component of the triad is the identity goal.  Identity.  Hmmmm. And I thought  the marriage-thing was heavy.  Okay, although two sentences ago I referred to this goal as a component of the triad, two minutes have now passed, and I now give myself leave to retract that description. Identity is really not a part of the triad at all, I don't think.  It is above it.  Or between the triad.  Or maybe it is the triad.  I mean--what the hay is Identity, anyhow? 

Is it what we do?  Most would say, "No." 

Is it who we are?  Well, what does that even mean!  

How am I supposed to grasp MY identity, if I can't even nail down the idea of Identity?

Well, this helps me.  (Warning:  Pardon my nerd-ness. But the analogy gives me a strong sense of the composition of Identity.)

As I see it, identity is like DNA.  Our genetic make-up differentiates us from every other living creature. It seems only natural that the physiological composition of our identity parallels the larger concept of our metaphysical Identity. If it has been since fifth grade when you used the Punnett square to determine eye color, a little refresher of the functions of genes may be beneficial, and we may be able to dismantle a few misconceptions, as well.  DNA and genetic identity are really incredible.  DNA refers to the the protein structure of the genes that responds to our environment, influences our actions, and produces the neurotransmitters between synapses of our cells.  Genes do not actually directly affect any phenotype or functions of the body, but they emit proteins and interact with other genes, which in turn affects hair color, eye color, and psychological tendencies.  DNA is in every cell of our body, from the finger nail to the brain stem, instructing genes to turn off or on, depending on the cell's function.  Therefore, identity (as paralleled to DNA) is not the actual cells that compose the mass of our bodies, but a common cord within each cell.  To make this relevant, our finances, career, education, marital status, food choices, gym membership, etc. all make up who we are.  These are the cells.  People try to argue sometimes that these things aren't connected to our identity, but that never made sense to me.  If I wasn't going to grad school, or if I ate very differently, or made a bunch-ola of money, I would probably kind-of be a different person. My composition would be different--the mass of my body, the cells, would be functioning differently.  Yet the same sequence would be instructing the cells' maturation.  When people talk about identity, it seems they always try to discount external circumstances or life choices, but I  could just never buy that these things didn't also become part of my identity.  But with this analogy, I can grasp the difference between what I am (my cells) and who I am (my DNA).  For, identity is the message between our actions and possessions, forming the pieces of our life, which become the embodiment of our DNA.  Therefore, identity is the common strand that makes us, well... us.  

Yet, important to note, genes do not only determine the actions of cells and other genes; the relationship is reciprocal.  As mentioned earlier, genes react with their environment.  The result of the genetic function is that the choices we make can also affect the way we begin to make choices.  So, although the actual sequence will remain the same, genes can begin interacting with other genes and proteins differently, thus producing a different composition.  But again, only the cell mass and the function of the genome changes--the code you have had since birth does not. Therefore, cells/external circumstance do not make us who we are, but what we are.  Cells are the construction, but Identity is the code that instructs how these things are built.  So our choices affect how the embodiment of our DNA appears, but the trueness of each of us, is a code--a piece of everything we do, and the facilitator of our choices.  

Today, I am on a quest--sequencing my genome and building up my cells to form the actual matter of my life.  Yet, I will embrace all that I find.  My gene profile may show tendencies towards preferable, or perhaps less agreeable traits, but either way, it is the code within me and I still choose.  Genes tell us of our tendencies, but they do not eradicate free will.  We can be whomever we want.  We can pursue the very life we want to live.  Therefore, in a quest for my identity, I am using my "very unique and never-changing genetic proclivity" to just be... me.  

More to come on this, but from a totally different direction.  I let the wind carry me.  Went somewhere cool.  Catch up with you soon.

In the meantime, thanks for following my stream of consciousness.  

And stay dusty.