Zen Pencils: Inspirational doodles.

“The credit belongs to the man in the arena. Whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again. Who knows the great enthusiams, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement. And who at worst, if he fails… at least fails while daring greatly”.

-Theodore Roosevelt (Man in the Arena)

The year barely begins, and I for one need to build momentum to make it through these fresh twelve months in which I have placed many, many hopes; the stakes are high, and I’m pushing all my chips in. I will freely admit, I am scared. Scared that I will not make it. Scared that my resolve will fail me and I will see the whole year go by without even trying. Oh, I am a fighter, that is for sure. I have failed many times but I have also succeeded in carving my path, inch by inch, and I have bled for every inch. This year, I intend to do the same. It is a tall, tall cliff, my friends, but it is better to have a path to follow than no path at all. It is scary, but it is also exciting.

As I’m sure you have experienced before, lately I go from hope to despair when I think about my goals and what I want to do. Part of it, I’m sure, is my altered brain chemistry which makes me prone to mild anxiety and depression; but part is also the what if, the uncertainty, the impatience to see it done. Being the hopeless dreamer that I am, I often look for inspiration, for motivation, something to tell me that I am not crazy, deluded; that I can make it happen, that I WILL make it happen. And it never ceases to surprise me that I usually find my answers in some very unlikely places.

Imgur is a well known time sink. You can find all kinds of things there, silly memes, pieces of real life, doodles, screenshots, funny pictures, amazing stories… and one of these was the bread crumb that ended up taking me to a surprising and awfully well-timed discovery. It began on my Facebook, as I followed a link to an imgur post detailing how George Takei’s fragrance had come to be (what an unlikely start for a journey, no?). Once I landed on imgur, I stayed for a little bit, bounced around from post to post…

…And I stumbled upon this.

What an unassuming, silly title for a post, don’t you agree? “*Evil laughter*”. I cannot quite remember what made me stop and pay closer attention to it, or even hop into it. But the moment I took a closer look, I was hooked. I will not deny that I got a little teary-eyed (I am a goddamn softie nowadays, for better or for worse), as each and every comic resonated deep within. The art added much to the already overwhelming power of the quotes themselves, and the effect was undeniable upon looking at most of the comments. I could not stop, I looked at every image on imgur and then, lead by a helpful comment, I went to the site itself and over the course of three to four days I devoured the archives. This is part of what I learned (for remembering is another form of learning).

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent“- Calvin Coolidge.

When I read this, I felt a bump in my chest. Have you ever held something as truth, deep in your heart of hearts, and wondered if you are simply a fool holding on to wishful thinking? It happens to me fairly often. I keep hearing about college, and a steady job, and talent… I have none of those things. I keep saying often I have nothing to offer; I did not go to college, I don’t have what you would call marketable skills like a doctor, or a soldier. All I have is my writing, and my unbreakable soul. Last year I made several choices that freed me to pursue my path, to not settle, to fly far and high. This year… this year is when I take off.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and you’ll be happier for the trouble – Bill Watterson

This. This a thousand times. I have tried the beaten path a few times, and I always felt out of place. I have been on retail, car sales, door-to-door, customer service over the phone, and so on, and I have never felt like I belonged. For a while I felt that I was merely being picky and trying to excuse my laziness. For a while I have known that I am simply different. I aim higher, I am made to go higher because I so chose. And go higher I will.

To love at all, is to be vulnerable – C.S. Lewis

To love means that you will be hurt. It is putting your heart and soul out there, in the open, and giving that special person immense power over you. Few are those who do not know the pain of a broken heart; mine has been broken, shattered even, more than a few times. And here I am, with my heart on my hand, feeling how it beats strong and daring in spite of it all. Will I prevail? Will I taste defeat yet again? I cannot say for sure… but I would rather risk defeat through action than ensure it by doing nothing. I choose to JUMP.

Who is the happier man? – Hunter S. Thompson.

To me the answer to this question is obvious. And this is what I want, this is what I always wanted. I want to be out there carving a path, going where few ever dared thread, weathering the storms and punching sharks. Who will stand by me, not quite watching as I punch the sharks… but punching the sharks with me? Who will dare brave the storms of life with me? Time will tell.

There are many, many more lessons hidden here, my friends; to post a lot more here would be both tiresome to me and unfair to the artist that weekly regales us with more gems of wisdom. If you have some time in your hands, go to zenpencils.com and sift through the archives. In the meantime, let me leave you with a follow-up thought building on the quote that opened this blog post.

“That’s what life is about, about daring greatly, about being in the arena. When you walk up to that arena and you put your hand on the door, and you think, “I’m going in and I’m going to try this,” shame is the gremlin who says, “Uh, uh. You’re not good enough”. And if we can quiet it down and walk in and say, “I’m going to do this,” we look up and the critic that we see pointing and laughing, 99 percent of the time is who? Us. I know it’s seductive to stand outside the arena,and think, I’m going to go in there and kick some ass when I’m bulletproof and when I’m perfect. And that is seductive. But the truth is that never happens. And even if you got as perfect as you could and as bulletproof as you could possibly muster when you got in there, that’s not what we want to see. We want you to go in. We want to be with you and across from you. And we just want, for ourselves and the people we care about and the people we work with, to dare greatly.

-Brené Brown (Woman in the Arena)

See you next week.

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One Response to “Zen Pencils: Inspirational doodles.”

  1. Dare greatly. Everyday. Push forward. Keep trying. Be the best you can be. Always.

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