when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ” Maybe we should be just friends ” turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”
Source: The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Horrible it may be, but love is also one of the most intense and memorable emotion we will ever experience in our lifetime. That is, if we are lucky enough to find it. It’s hard to believe that there could be anyone in the world who has not ever been madly and crazy in love with anyone but I guess anything is possible.
Love does hurt… even in the throes of it when you would think you should be ecstatic, it hurts. It hurts in a good way. It hurts in a physical kind of way. It lets us know we’re alive and living. Most people don’t expect it, but love in it’s true form subsides and settles into a comfortable lull. This is really the best phase and if you can prolong it, it makes it all the better. But, we’re human and we’re wont to always want for more. We start thinking love must have expired because your chest is not exploding and your stomach has stopped roiling. So you go looking elsewhere for that initial high. And when one of you gets to this unease first, then the ending is as painful as the beginning. You do feel like you’re being ripped apart, that you’re dying and your world is coming to an end.
That’s love… ride it out though. It gets better. You’ll eventually get back up again and yes, you’re still breathing. Your chest feels like it’s been pummeled but it gets more like its old self before long and you go on. You continue…
Then you turn a corner one day and there, love is waiting for you and the ride starts all over again. You eagerly jump on and this time around you’re a little smarter. You remember the ride that was but you know the scenery is totally different this time around. Sit back and enjoy it and when you get to the part where it plateaus, maybe you’ll be smart enough to not jump off this time and ride it out.
A Violinist in the Metro
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
I received this story via email and found the story so intriguing that I decided to check if it is one of those urban legends that seem to make the rounds so easily. It turns out that it was a true story as described in the Washington Post article, Pearls Before Breakfast. Click on the link to read the full article, see the video and listen to the audio.
It’s an interesting study on how we perceive things. It asked the question, “In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?”
I ran across this on another blog as I was stumbling today and I just wanted to share it here too as I thought it is a beautiful life lesson.
If you are quick to take offense, then you will be under the control of those who find you offensive.
If you are easily angered, then your actions will be dictated by those who anger you.
If you are obsessed by what other people think, then you will be imprisoned by their thoughts.
If you yearn for easy answers and quick solutions, then you’ll fall prey to people who offer you nothing but promises.
If you find the truth too difficult to bear, then you will be enslaved to those who tell you what you want to hear.
When you have the courage to think for yourself, the strength to accept what is, the commitment and discipline to make a difference…
Then you are free. You are free to live with purpose, joy, and fulfillment. Let your life be defined, not by reactions to what others do, say, or think but rather your own unique vision.
Raise your eyes above the pettiness and follow the path of the greatness that is within you. Be free.
~ Naseeh Sharafudheen