I Listen When I Walk My Path

There was a time in my life where I had forgotten a worthy lesson, and it would take a lengthy conversation from a man far wiser than I to remind me of a lost core value. Upon my return to martial arts—after a lengthy lapse in attendance—I was naturally in a hurry to return to the rank from which I had left off. While fiction and romanticized ideals inspired my youthful self, it was the late Sensei Stuart Quan who reminded me that life is not about the destination: it is about the journey.

I can hardly believe that I had the gumption to protest my name not being on the list of students to test for the next belt rank. While my reasoning was not so much for advancing in rank for the sake of rank—I wanted the privilege of attending more advanced classes that the higher rank would allow, more or less—Sensei Quan said to me, “I’m happy to give this belt to you, but know that you’ve yet to earn it.” Clearly, I remember him stopping all of his business affairs to speak with me at length on this subject, yet he had me completely convinced with one sentence. I did not want that belt until I had earned it, and I would have been ashamed to wear it under any other circumstance.

Today I see many who are concerned only with their goals; so much are they, that they sadly overlook the road upon which they travel to meet their goals. The prize at the end of the road is meaningless unless one possesses more than a superficial experience of their travels.

A wise man has a tempered thirst for knowledge and experience, for it is the combination of knowledge and experience that leads to wisdom. These are the things that conversations can teach; and just as Sensei Quan guided me down a path that values the journey, my highest ambition is to share that guidance to anyone who cares to read my words. On your travels, do not simply hear. Listen.


If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Goodreads, you know that I have been entrenched with reading Middlemarch by George Eliot over the last week or so. I have happily found what I hope to be an intriguing thesis for my pending paper with this class in Victorian literature, and that thesis is going to center around problems in communication in this novel and in Victorian society as a whole. Then I got to thinking…The Dalai Lama

Today we [granted, we being loosely referred to as most of us] live in a world where we’re surrounded by every convenience. We have been empowered by technology that allows us to communicate around the world with the idle pressing of a few buttons, yet it seems as though these conveniences have come to be a convenient excuse to either communicate poorly or not to communicate at all. Over the last few years I have noticed a few trends swelling. Of course we all know that language is an organic thing that is constantly evolving and gaining complexity, so let me try to decode some of this for you. The following chart may serve as a translation for when you invite someone to do something:

They say… They mean…
Yes. Maybe, unless I find something better to do or decide to be lazy.
Maybe No.
No. Do I even know you?

Or, alternatively, when you invite someone to do something, they’ll just flat out ignore you. Given countless scenarios over the last year, I’m often left in positions like this:

I invite someone to do something and they accept, knowing full well after having translated their response into modern flakeEnglsh means that this is only really a “maybe,” but I don’t want to make alternative plans with someone else in case the “maybe” under the surface blossoms into a legitimate “yes”; on the other hand, I’m locked in to committing my invitation to a “maybe” and often find myself holding the bag because the person has indeed decided to flake. More generally, I suppose that texting and Facebook has made it very easy to flake out. Only a few years ago, people weren’t available during every second of the day. If you made plans with someone, that person might be out of the house (ergo unavailable for mobile communication) an hour or two in advance, so if you didn’t cancel in time, you’d just be standing them up…and we wouldn’t want to do that, now would we? That’s rude. It’s much better to text at 1:45 when you’ve planned meet at 2:00 and write “sry something came up. raincheck?”

Now call me old fashioned, but in my day, when one said “Yes” to something, they made it their business to do it. It was also common courtesy to thank someone for inviting them to do something with them regardless of offering one’s acceptance or one’s regrets. This is not [apparently it is] rocket science. This is along the lines of “please” and “thank you.” Am I right? Honestly: In this aforementioned world of empowered communication, how difficult is it to take two seconds to text, five seconds to email, or–call me crazy–one minute to call someone and say, “Thanks so much for inviting me to […]; I’d like to, but I can’t. Maybe next time?” In my world, when a friend invites me to do something and I am unable to do it, I always thank them for thinking about me and make it a point to try to invite them out some time in the near future to return the favor.

Am I crazy for thinking that this is dead simple? Is this not common courtesy?

Surprisingly, there is very little information available on the Interwebs about why people have become so flakey. I wasn’t able to find any real social or psychological research on this topic, but a lot of people are complaining about it. Add me to the list. I wish to surround myself with those who are moved by the Dalai Lama’s sentiments: put your busy life into perspective and ask yourself if you’re happy with your social life as it exists now! After all, the only real validation we have for our existence in this world is our relationship and our ability to communicate with each other. Relationships are at the heart of the human condition. Don’t fail at the human condition.

My Web Server

So I’ve had this server sitting around for a few years now, and I’ve always had this splinter of embarrassment in the back of my mind whenever I share my email address with someone. Most of us are clever enough to know that the part in an email address after the @ symbol usually correlates to a website. So… @jeremiahhenry.com has surely led some folks to my site–or lack thereof–only to see a n00bish ASP.NET-driven CSS layout with filler content.

That’s all about to change.

I’ll be in the process of migrating my sites to a new server which will have the latest and greatest version of ASP.NET and should just be faster in general. Meanwhile, I’m learning all of the ropes in Adobe Dreamweaver and hope to have something cool before too long.

On another sentiment altogether, do you know those thin little grass-green flying bugs? The ones with thin wings that fly so quietly that you’d never know they were there if you didn’t see them?

Note to self (and you): never take a drink of your beer without looking at the tip of the bottle first. Those little bastards do not taste very good.
Beer Bug

Who knew…?

I had no idea how incredibly simple it is to install a blog service! I’m quite excited to actually do something with my web host. A fully interactive website is on the way, too! Meanwhile, I plan on using this space to… I have no idea. What reason is there for this sort of thing during the days of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so on? I guess we’ll see. One philosophy to which I heartily subscribe is that writing is a process of self-discovery; being a writer, the more avenues I give myself to write (with or without an audience), the better off I am. Right?

Tune in. Subscribe. Enjoy my randomness. I’ll try not to rant too much. I promise ;)

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