Archive | December, 2011

Be Love

30 Dec

Reflections on a TED Talk delivered by Kathryn Schulz.

My last post of 2011 is going to stray a little from my traditional format, but please stick with me here.

Some say that 2012 will bring about, at the very least, a paradigm shift. I am certain that many of us see that changes have to occur in order for us to live as happily as we are all capable of being. The following TED Talk has unexpectedly prompted me to make my own reflections upon how I hope that things can change in 2012 and beyond.

We all have regrets, and as Schulz points out, it is part of what makes us human. Of course we may all wish to have the foresight and wisdom that would allow us to live in harmony with our every word, action and thought, but to do so would be an inhuman condition.

And like I regret certain words, actions and thoughts in my life that have affected others, I know that others regret those same things toward me. When I think of how I hope to overcome regret in a way to move on with my life, I believe it is through honesty. However much it may hurt me or hurt another, at least after the pain there can be healing. All of this is probably sounding very vague, but I hope that you can apply the hazy outline of what I am trying to say here to your own experiences of regret.

To those who I hold close, and to those who I have never met and everyone in between, I have but one request: Choose honesty and an open heart in the New Year. I am not asking anyone to be perfect, nor am I making a New Year’s Resolution to live without harm. It is difficult for one to learn about the danger of fire without ever feeling its burn. But do not let your regret grow so looming that it consumes your heart and the hearts of those around you. Quench the fiery sting of regret with loving truth. Let your heart guide you with empathy, compassion, and above all, love.

There is a message that started in my ear as a small buzz, but it has grown to a dull roar. I think it will continue to swell until I hear it come from the lips of everyone I know and everyone I don’t. Above all else, I want to be loved and I want to be love. But I don’t know how to do one without the other. I hear this message often, but I fear that many people are saying it for the wrong reasons or using it as an excuse for actions that are not based in love. Maybe I still don’t know what love really truly is or should be, but I know that I am going about it at this moment with as pure of intentions as I am capable of at this part in my journey. I have only reached this point after much reflection on the regrets of my life, and the pain that I have felt at the hands of others.

I know I am not the first to say it, I just want to do my part to echo this message. Maybe I cannot end pain or regret, but I am going to do my part to use honesty and openness to be love now and in the future.

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Pulling John (2009)

8 Dec

Ok, quit your giggling, despite its humorously euphemistic title, Pulling Johnis actually a great documentary that doesn’t take itself too seriously but is still pretty entertaining on a subject that I never thought I would even be remotely interested in before: arm wrestling. Seriously. In addition to the fact that my scrawny stick arms would never get me through one round of arm wrestling, I am turned off in general by physical challenges of strength, even if I am not the one participating. Nonetheless, I found myself sitting rather enthralled through this documentary on an aging arm wrestling great, John Brzenk, and two up-and-coming competitors: Russian human steam-engine Alexey Voevoda, and Travis Bagent of West Virginia.

Alexey Voevoda

This documentary was very reminiscent of King of Kong in that it took its cast of quirky characters and really got us to…pull for them. Heh. With four years of footage and coverage under their belts, filmmakers Vassiliki Khonsari and Sevan Matossian make surprisingly in-depth profiles on Brzenk, Voevoda and Bagent. As most sports films go, the film builds up to a huge competition at the end, where the stories of these three titans of arm wrestling meet up to compete for an international title. Pulling John compels the viewer to watch until the nail-biting conclusion of who will emerge victorious. Did I mention we’re talking about arm wrestling here?

Travis Bagent

See Pulling John, you will be happy you spent an hour and a half learning about the unfamiliar world of arm wrestling (unless you are an enthusiast of Over the Top, starring Sly Stallone, in which case you will probably love this documentary even more). I give it an A.

I leave you with the clip that I found the funniest in the movie. I am sorry for the poor/choppy quality, but it is the only public domain footage I could find with this scene. Perhaps funnier in context, also check out the trailer here.