chopping wood

chopping wood

You’ve heard of discipline training – the first picture that comes to mind with chopping wood is some sort of mental exercise ‘wax on wax off’ Mr. Miyagi simulation, right? I don’t want to dispel the fact that becoming disciplined in something will spill over into other areas of your life that needs similar fine tuning, but it also represents something much more powerful: defining the driving acts that fill the void of expectations. 

I’ve struggled with this immensely over the past months. I want to slave away at my passions, but I have difficulty continuing without greater impact or reception from others. The fires I desire never come to fruition the way I anticipate, so should I keep chopping wood? Why bother pushing your already fragile mental fortitude just to keep missing the mark? 

Here’s an easy solution. When you think you’re ready to stop chopping wood to start a fire, keep chopping. Don’t concern yourself with the fire. It’s not yours to start. You know that people will be able to start a fire using your wood, but only concern yourself with making more and more wood available for potential fires. When you sit and wait for people to start the fire, you’ve gone astray. Doing isn’t defined by results, it just is. If your act is only validated by if or how others receive it, then can you honestly say this is something that drives you? 

I don’t mean this abstractly. Literally keep doing. If you’re a musician, keep getting out there to play shows or open mics. If you’re an athlete, keep training everyday. If you’re a writer, write constantly. If you want to cook, cook for everyone all the time. DO DON’T WAIT FOR A RESPONSE . 

Imagine a world where you’re received exactly as your expectations dreamt it. Then what? Do you stop doing? Are you dead? I doubt it. Your drive lives on it because it is you. The fire keeps others warm, but chopping wood keeps you strong and alive. 

by ty miller

all give no take

all give no take

What is it to take from someone? Does taking only exist when an offering is on the table? Or do you literally grab from the emotional surplus someone possesses without their permission? What does it say about that other person if they are okay with allowing someone to take from them, but they never really initiated an offering in the first place? Does their passivity clear them of a responsibility they never thought to hold in the first place? In other words, how much have they prepared themselves prior to to be ready in the event that you need them? Have they recognized the signs and are they prepared to extend themselves for you? Have they considered this even a possibility? 

Bear with me here.  

Conscious giving and taking is another level of unspoken communication. From where I stand today, it is a language only few can translate. Personally, I have never had an issue giving or a.k.a. “knowingly allow someone to take from me”. I have always read people well, taken an interest in them, and always try to follow up with a great deal of empathy. This being my natural disposition, I give without thinking but I’m nonetheless aware it is happening. 

My mind gets tortured here. 

Is this more a reading situation? Are people that care about you keeping their intuition sharp to recognize the signs that you’re in a position where you need to be offered something. I know that I feel more cared about when someone offers something to take rather than having to unexpectedly grab from their emotional cookie jar, even if they do not mind you grabbing from it. 

I want to keep giving, but I want to learn to expect nothing from anyone. It’s draining at times though, and it creates a sense of loneliness.

It’s rare to find people who can bounce back the give and take on an equal pay scale. Unfortunately, even for those people I enjoy, this might have to be established criteria in my head going forward. I will continue to give and not ask for anything, but the train will not stop moving for one person to wait for reciprocation. Some people just won’t reciprocate. I shouldn’t let my feelings be disregarded anymore. 

Maybe that is the answer. Keep giving and keep moving. Do not stress the breaks on your life to wait for anyone to share yourself when they can’t share themselves as well. The truth in exploring this is to know where to bend and not break. Understanding and trusting that you are a giver, but knowing where your give is maxed out when you need to take. 

by ty miller