Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

1.01.2012

Reflecting and Expecting

On 2011 and of 2012, respectively.

2011 was an eventful year for me, to say the least, although in some ways it's been a lead-in to a potentially even more eventful 2012. My blogging has decreased accordingly, as I even addressed in a September post titled Still Hanging Around: . . . it seems for a few months now I've been bouncing back and forth between really busy and tired to rather mellow, tranquil, and content. Neither state leads to very good rants or musings.

I won't go into all of it here because much of it I consider too private for this forum, but the past year has included many trips to hospitals with loved ones, moving, dealing with tight economic times at work, stresses with exes, chronic exercise injury, travel, excellent times with friends and family, new love, my 40th birthday, and an engagement announcement.

To touch on that last one a bit, a year ago I wrote a rambling, roundabout meditation on my dislike for New Year's resolutions even though I eventually arrived at a vague intent for 2011. I rather like the post: Dawn of a Brand New . . . ish . . . well . . . just another day, really. (And I'm quite fond of the two posts linked within it, although I do understand you don't have eternity to spend reading through the history of this blog.) I more implied my intent than stated it explicitly, but I indicated I wanted to create more opportunities for romance. Soon after writing the post, I created profiles for myself on two dating sites and pursued that for a good part of the year.

But a funny thing happened along the way. In the post, I wrote: Meeting someone for a date seems like such a constructed, performance-based event. Each person is on his or her best behavior, presenting a persona to make an impression. Or even when they're not, there's doubt about it since that's the expectation. I'd much rather see someone in her natural habitat being her everyday self and have her get to know me in the same way, and if a relationship organically develops then it does. But only so many people just organically enter our lives in an everyday way, and waiting can be an exercise in futility. Once I decided to stop waiting around and pursue something more intentional, an organic situation emerged. It was surprising and unexpected, has been much more of a rapidly evolving whirlwind than might seem prudent, and has been more wondrous and precious and happy than I ever thought possible.

So 2011 started with a more formal, radical resolution than is my habit. Though nothing came directly from the actions I took in pursuing what I resolved, something came about in that same realm that delightfully overshot the mark, and now 2012 looks to include a wedding, a honeymoon, a new house, and more.

I don't think any of that particularly relates to resolutions for the new year, though (although we are a week into our "wedding dress" workout regimen). No, I think 2012 looks to be eventful enough without adding the pressure of a "to do" list of things to add to my routine or feel I need to accomplish. Nevertheless, it's my nature to seek life-long learning and constant self-improvement. In keeping with that, I want to share another vague intent, this time one with much more continuity with my general operating procedure. (And for those of you who do have eternity to spend reading through the history of this blog, prepare for more links to past posts demonstrating the continuity and elaborating on my foundation for pursuing this intent.)

I don't generally use the term "Renaissance person" because I'm not sure what associations and connotations others might have for it, but I've always been drawn to the idea since it seems to fit me instinctively. In I Want to Be a Generalist (and in the intro here) I wrote about my predisposition for variety and being well-rounded, how I am interested in many different things and don't want to specialize in any. Despite the expert advice I've seen many times, I refuse to focus this blog because I want it to reflect my many, random interests, from the Tour de France to politics, religion, and social justice to nature walks and photography to children's literature to books I read to Dungeons & Dragons and much more. This blog is about me and any topic that catches my eye, which means it will be far-ranging and diverse.

We were Christmas shopping at Half-price Books and I came across one that intrigued me. It wasn't a category I normally go for and I was blindly hoping I'd run into something that would work for the person I had in mind, and I did. I not only bought him a copy of the book as a gift, I bought the second copy they had for myself. I don't have any great expectations that it will be particularly deep or well-written or will provide that perfect formula to a magically happy life that it offers, but I hope to get some good things out of it and apply them to my life. Add to my wisdom, if you will.

So that's my resolution for the New Year: read How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci and see if I can put its "Seven Da Vincian Principles" into practice in new and deeper ways. Because it was reading the descriptions of those seven principles that won me over to the book. I'm sure I'll be blogging more about them as I get to the book, but here they are, in brief:

Curiosita - An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.

Which I've already made some reference to above and hope this blog (and my daily life, for those of you who know me) already demonstrates regularly.

Dimostrazione - A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.

I've always called myself a trial-and-error learner (including here).

Sensazione - The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience.

This brings to mind my recent post Keep Your Head Up, among other thoughts.

Sfumato (literally "Going up in Smoke") - A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.

I've said many times to many people, including in this blog post, we need to Embrace Contradiction and Paradox.

Arte/Scienza - The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination. "Whole-brain" thinking.

I remember in high school saying that my favorite subject was science, math, art, and music, and most recently blogged along these lines in: Are Knowledge and Imagination Dichotomous?

Corporalita - The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.

I would guess I tend to be a bit brutish for this particular definition, but I can't live happily without exercise and physical activity (see, for instance: Finally Indexing All My Born to Run Posts).

Connessione - A recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena. Systems thinking.

I'm not remembering at the moment if I've specifically delved into this idea in a post, but I think it's an underlying assumption to the basic philosophy that informs much of what I say.

So maybe reading this book won't be much of a revelatory or transformative experience for me, but I'm hoping it will help me continue to grow during a year that looks to have more than its fair share of eventfulness and challenge already. Who knows, maybe I'll even like it so much I get the workbook.

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