Friday, February 17, 2012

Dead Trees, Green Growth, and Books

Very good then.

My one and only follower has commented, asking if I plan to continue posting here.  In answer, "Yes, in fact, I do plan to do so."  You all cannot get rid of me that easily.

That said, I have found I am drawing a blank as to material to write about.  Ah well, I'll charge ahead and see what happens.

Winter, periods of growth, and periods of no growth, times in which I felt I had things under control, and other times when I felt everything was out of control, falling apart, and lost.  This is a description of what has been happening since I last posted.  And standard look into a person's life, I believe.  We all have ups and downs, and I am not immune to such things, as much as I would like to be so.

Despite this, I believe that even in the times when it seems nothing is happening, there is growth taking place.  Even in winter, when the trees look dead and void, there is growth taking place.  Only, beneath the soil rather than above.  Just so, in the quiet times, we are growing in sometimes unnoticeable ways, and should continue to search for ways to grow even when hope seems lost.

Finding ways to grow could be stretching our abilities in some way, perhaps doing something we're not sure we can do, or something we're afraid to do.  Or perhaps it is finding a good, non-fiction book that will grow our knowledge.  Yes, of course, fiction has its place, but I believe many people read much too large an amount in relation to the quantity of non-fiction they read.

Well, it seem that my creativity has been exhausted merely at that, though I do now have inspiration for other posts.  Be looking out for more posts soon, and do excuse the shortness of this one.  I am thinking that perhaps it takes some time to fall back into the swing of writing blog posts.

Thank you to my lone follower, for commenting and encouraging me to write another post.  It really is helpful to know my ramblings are not posted and left unread.

 Until next time!
In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Post Where I Become Many Peoples' Enemy

Yes, yes, I know I am really going to do it this time.

I'm going to pick on your "friends", and my "friends" also, for I am not exempt in this.

How many friends do you have?  Real friends.  By "real" friends, I mean friends who you spend time with in person.

Now, go to your social networking site, forum, e-mail, blog, whatever you use to connect to people on the internet.  How many friends do you have?

In this day and age of internet, chat rooms, and e-mail, it is so easy to form friendships with anyone.  Those who are introverted often find themselves freed by not having to speak to someone face to face.  Extroverts... Well, they have even more people to talk to now.

With this freedom to talk to billions of people literally around the world, comes big complications.  Think back to the olden days, before internet, before e-mail, before Facebook and Myspace, before chat rooms.  Back to the days when people actually had good friends in person.
Try not to have a heart attack.

How many friends did people have back then?  Probably not as many as you have.  How many could they unerringly trust?  Probably?  Most of them.
So, how many people do you have through the internet?  Fifty?  A hundred and fifty?  More?

Now, how many of those people would you actually trust with sensitive information about yourself?  I would be surprised if you were able to honestly answer half.

So, how do you define friends?  People that you chat with, have a good time with, people that you never have a meaningful conversation with ever?  Or people who you can trust, who you absolutely know you can go to in a hard time, someone who accepts you for who you are, respects you, but still gently urges you to develop in areas that need development?

After all that, please do not think I hate the internet.  I have a blog, for cricket's sake.  If I thought the internet was the worst thing on the planet, I wouldn't have a blog.

The internet is misused, however.  It is used as a crutch for those who feel unable to interact with people in person, and as a way to have a thousand friends for those who love talking to people.

It also gives people a false sense of security.  Chatting with someone is the equivalent of being in a soundproof, windowless room with them.  You can say whatever you want and no one will ever know.  Or so it feels.  But all it takes is for you to say the wrong thing to the wrong person, and all of a sudden, you have a problem.

It has happened before.  Someone thinks they can trust a person.  This person is trusted so much, that you tell them your secrets, struggles... everything.  Then, somehow you irritate or anger that highly trusted friend, and he goes out and starts revealing all the things you told him.  Maybe you don't even need to anger him, maybe he simply does it for the fun of it.

Am I saying to be paranoid about all your internet friends?  No.

Am I saying we should be careful about what we say to our internet friends?  Limit what we tell them to things that we don't mind everyone and anyone knowing?  Yes.

Of course, there are exceptions.  If you have a great friend who moves away and suddenly the only way to communicate with them is through chat, e-mail, messaging, etc., then there would be a degree of change in how you treated them.

To sum it up: Have common sense.  Treat friends in the way you should treat them.  Don't treat an internet friend who you've known for a year the same way you would treat a flesh friend you have known for ten years.  Don't trust the "security" of the internet more than face-to-face relationships, or use it as a guard to avoid cultivating the friendships you need to make with those you can actually meet in person.

Until next time.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Monday, August 15, 2011

Like Leaves in the Wind, So Is a Schedule

Some days just don't go as you planned.
Some days, you wake up with a fixed schedule in your mind, and the wind blows it all to pieces.

Am I speaking from experience?  Yes, in fact, I am.  As would most if they wrote an entry about schedules and their changeability.  I doubt anyone has gone through life with everything perfectly planned, and had it work.

Life is not like that, you cannot fix it in place, or know beyond a shadow of a doubt what will happen tomorrow.
It shouldn't be like that, either.

How boring would it be if every day went as planned?  Sure, it would be a lot less vexatious, but where would we be?  A lot of times you end up somewhere that you love, or somewhere that you really needed to be, all because your schedule was pulled out of place.

Young and old alike have a distaste for mix-ups and mess-ups in their lives.
For young people, they want to finish high-school at such and such a time, start college at this point, finish college on this date, get a job, find a girlfriend or boyfriend, fall in love, get married...
Then, when things go wrong, because rarely in this life does anything go as planned, they start thinking something is wrong with themselves.  Or the people around them.  Or the world.  Or whoever is in charge.  Blame begins getting thrown, depression begins, and everything seems to be falling apart, just because things are not going as they should.

Take a step back.  Sure, some of those things could be at fault.  It could be your fault, maybe you have a bad work ethic, and sit around instead of doing your job, so instead of being hired, you're... not.
Maybe your school doesn't have the best system or teachers, maybe the government isn't in the best shape, and that effects how things work for you.

And so, because things certainly aren't your fault, you blame others.
I saw a movie not long ago which had a character who was always blaming things and people for what happened.
The things that were happening were not his fault, they really weren't, and neither were they anyone else's fault.  The things just happened, because that is how things go.
But he had to blame people.  No matter what happened, no matter how ridiculous it seemed, someone would be blamed.
Finally, at one point in the movie, one of the characters said something to the effect of, "Why are you blaming me?"
To which the blame thrower paused, then said, "Well, I have to blame someone, don't I?"

Many people function like the blame thrower in that movie.  Something goes wrong, and someone has to be blamed.  It can't be that no one is at fault for the problem.  No, they have to blame the government.  Or their teachers, or parents, or friends, or siblings, or children, or even themselves.

But it doesn't occur to them that schedule changes are life, it happens, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it.

This goes for both young and old, I have seen it in both.  Human nature is to blame things and people when things go awry.
But just because it is human nature, ingrained in our personalities, doesn't make it right.

Until next time.
In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Kills. But...

I know, I know, my last post had "Summer" in its title also.

But, since I am blaming Summer for my inactivity on here, I decided I may as well give it a spot in the title as sort of a comfort for me disliking it so much.

That aside, I really do have no one and nothing but myself to blame for the neglect of this blog.  I have been busy, but not so much so to prevent me from posting here.

But, now that I am here, has anyone else noticed that Summer seems to slow things down?  Perhaps I am the only one, but it seems to be unmotivating.  To exercise, because you get hot more easily, and therefore more sweaty, which is sort of nice because it proves I've had a good workout, but also annoys me.
The heat of Summer causes me to dislike going outside and getting fresh air, too.  Since nature is an important thing to a shinobi, I try to spend a good amount of time in the outdoors, but in the Summer?  I lack in that area.

As I've thought all this, all the reasons I dislike Summer and wish it could be Autumn or Spring, or even Winter instead, I am reminded how necessary all four of the Seasons really are.
Sure, I complain about Summer, and go on being ungrateful for it, but in all honesty, what would happen if there were no Summer?
No crops, which would equal no food.  Which of course equals no life.

This is a pretty obvious observation, I seem to be a pro at obvious, but it goes on to other things.

How many things do we take complain about?  That we are ungrateful for?
Rules?  Laws?  Bugs?  "Pests"?  Sickness?

I once wondered what on Earth a wasp could possibly be good for, aside from causing pain and fear.  Then, I observed one attack and eat a damaging caterpillar in our garden.  Wasps, though pesky, help with "pest" control.  Now, me saying that caterpillars are pests doesn't mean they have no use either.  They turn into butterflies or moths, which pollinate things and therefore help plants to grow.

I challenge you; next time you complain about something, instead of thinking of all the bad things about it, turn your attention to the good things.  It may not make the unpleasantness go away, actually, in most circumstances, it won't, but it may help you to be more grateful for it.  And this world could use some more gratefulness, and less complaints.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Ramblings and Nothings... Unless I think of something useful by the end of this post

It has been ages since I last checked in with you all, and I have not been doing anything exceptionally wonderful in that time either.  Nor have I come up with any amazing blog topics, despite the fact the question has occurred to me several times.

Instead, I suppose I shall ramble and bore you to death.  Which is all right, in my opinion, since most of my posts lately have been fairly serious.

So, ramblings.
Summer is now in full swing.  With sweltering temperatures and humidity, crickets and cicadas singing at the top of their lungs, and, one of the extremely few good things about this season, lightning bugs.  It is wonderful to think that they were created only for enjoyment.  They have no use, they can't even be eaten!  They are made simply to be beautiful and mysterious.

Another good thing about Summer (I've no idea why I am being so optimistic about my least favorite season all of a sudden... ah well) is swimming.  I have not been yet this year, which isn't necessarily a bad thing seeing as I am not the most stellar swimmer, and tend to burn to a crisp.  The main reason I even go is because I enjoy being with friends.

The last good thing I can think about Summer is the birds.  A new bird recently moved in which had me stumped as to what it was.  Yesterday I found that it was a Phoebe.  It is always exciting to find and learn a new bird.

There, I succeeded in writing a rambly, not too pointless post.

A most happy Summer to you all!

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

That Unstoppable Force: Time

Time never stops.

I was struck with this reality a few days ago. It may seem painfully obvious, but hear me out.

I've always known that time is continuous. Sometimes it seems as if it has stopped, or is moving terribly slow, other times it seems as if it zips by, leaving us in the dust, wondering what happened.
It also seems to be contrary. When we wish it to hurry up, it crawls by. When we want it to slow down, it feels as if it moves twice as fast.

Despite this, it always moves forever at the same speed. Sixty seconds to a minute, sixty minutes to an hour, twenty-four hours to a day, thirty days to a month, twelve months to a year.
And all of it goes along at the same pace, no matter how we bed it otherwise.


Well, of course there is the obvious reason: It is impossible for it to move at a different pace than it is set at.

But also, if we were able to stop or speed up time to suit ourselves, where would we be?

What if we came to a boring time in our life, a lull, and decided to fast-forward? Those lulls are there for us to prepare ourselves. If we find that we seem to be stuck in the lull, there is most likely something that needs to be changed. Perhaps a brave step that needs taken, perhaps a relationship to be made or changed, perhaps a lifestyle altered. Those times that seem to be useless space are never useless. They, just as everything else in this life, have a meaning. The meaning may not be clear, but it is always there.

Similarly, what if there was an imminent unpleasant ordeal, and we simply said, “No! I don't want to go through that! Clock, time, stop moving!” Where would we be?
Stuck forever in one place because of our fear. Never able to move on and let the unpleasant things happen along with the pleasant, never able to let those things mold us. We would never be able to experience the things that come after. We would never be able to live and carry on our adventures, because adventures are notoriously uncomfortable at times.
Instead, we would be stuck in one place, like a fledgling terrified to take that first flight, for fear of falling. Like a toddler refusing to take those first steps, because he or she will fall eventually.

Thankfully, time is not our own to command. It marches on, never stopping for breath, never missing a beat.

But many of us waste time, disregarding the slow times, trying to make things go faster while missing the whole point of the lull.

Many let fear stop the clock of their own lives. Time is still going, but they've taken the batteries out of their clock and refuse to take the pain that may come with growth. We refuse to become who we should be.

Don't let your clocks top ticking. Time will continue on whether you're ready or not.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Well, I will be honest with you.  I have sat here for a good ten minutes attempting to decide what to write about, and nothing is springing to mind.

That said, I still feel the need to update this blog.

And, it occurs to me that since this is Memorial Day, it would be a good idea to write something along those lines.

It is sad, really.  This day is here for us to remember those who have fallen in battle, and yet we go through it happily as a pleasant day off work.  Meanwhile, there are those who have lost family and friends due to war.
And we don't even acknowledge them on their day of remembrance.

Now, I'm not saying we should mope through Memorial Day, refusing to do anything fun and instead dwelling on the fallen through the day and likely depressing ourselves, but we do owe them some respect.  They gave their lives so we could live life how we know it, after all.  Where would we be without brave men willing to die for their country, and the people in that country?  We would no longer be America, that much is certain.

So, we should recognize and honor our fallen soldiers today, yes.  But I would submit to you that we not only remember them today, but every day.  We have soldiers fighting for freedom at this very time!  Should we ignore them, forget about them, or, even worse, dishonor them openly?

I saw a banner not long ago that read, "If you won't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them."

I agree with this statement.  We have no business speaking badly of those who do things we ourselves are not brave enough, or capable enough, to do.

No, instead we should do what we can to support them.  Not only on Memorial Day, but at any time possible.  Even if it is a simple "Thank you", you are showing your appreciation, and that can go a long way.

This said, I now extend my thanks to the American soldiers.

Thank you for what you have done.  For what you are doing.  I am grateful for your willingness to protect those who cannot fight, and you are in my prayers.  May you be blessed.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi,