Friday, April 17, 2009

Life Unplugged

Of those who know me, when it comes to music, I am a bit of a fanatic. I admit to having almost 4,000 songs on my IPOD, and the number is always growing. I hoard music like one would photographs, each song brings back a different memory, an emotion, a feeling associated with it. For example, every time I hear Sublime, I remember the entire summer I spent listening to it; a summer with fond memories of skateboarding and jumping off reservoir bridges with three good friends. Those friends were only there for the summer, and when they left I kept their memory and the times we had in that music, and it returns to me every time I hear it. My entire life seems to have a soundtrack. My earphones are in so often that I might as well have them surgically attached. Lately though something interesting has begun; throughout the course of this semester I have change my taste in music.
Our discussions in class, the articles, and the books I have read concerning the environment have fortified many of my own personal convictions, and they have also helped me look at things from new perspectives, which has been of great value. But the most vital part of this engagement, has been the desire to once again reacquaint myself with the peaceful sound of nature, a genre often forgotten.
Think about it, just to start a conversation with someone walking from one class to the next often requires some form of sign language to get their attention, in order for them to take the headphones off. Its as if life is just a station on the radio that you listen to in between your favorite songs. For me it has not just been the memories that music can bring back, but I can also relate with the its message or the feelings it invokes. Some lyrics seem to tell your story, or share your feelings, and that can be comforting. For others, a steady and rhythmic beat helps to form a barrier from an unpredictable world; to know the words, to sing along, to tune out of reality. It can be akin to the lulling comfort of the lotus leafs described in Homers "Odyssey", which caused anyone who ate the flower or seeds to forget who they were, and their only interest was to eat more.
Odysseus had to carry his crew back to the ship, to remind them of their journey-which was return home.
Living life "unplugged," has helped me "return home" listening to the world around me; the sound of birds, of leafs, of the wind, and rain; a symphony-created by my Heavenly Father, a hymn that reminds me of his love and his omnipresence.
In one of my favorite films, the main character is going though a midlife crisis of sorts; he seems to be overwhelmed with his lot in life, and he is tired of going through the motions; he feels disconnected. In the end he finds peace, when he stops to appreciate the world around him. He concludes the film with these words, stated in calm resolution:
"there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax... and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain, and I can't feel anything but gratitude... for every single moment..." (American Beauty)

I invite everyone who reads this blog to stop... unplug... disconnect, to reconnect and tune in to the beautiful sound of the wondrous elements that surrounds us,... and if you do, you will feel this same gratitude. If we are grateful for what we have, we will treat it as our Father intends.


  1. I want to thank everyone for your kind and constructive comments on my blogs. I have learned so much from your blogs and our in-class discussions. It's comforting to know there are caring and committed people such as yourselves.

    As you all know, I like to quote other people smarter than I am. Well here is one of my own that I leave you with:

    Forget not in faith the action
    provides the gears of progress traction.

  2. Your blogs have been very interesting to read. I believe that you have out forth much effort in communicating what you feel. I have learned alot from this class and from my peers as well. I am not into music so my ears are always listening to the environment around me. I enjoy hearing the wind and birds. I wish i could be more connected to nature and enjoy what it has to offer. Great blog and great semester in 347

  3. I agree that a lot of people get addicted to being "plugged in." There are many who don't know what to do if they aren't being constantly stimulated, it's almost as if they're afraid to have to think for themselves. When we unplug we not only realize the value of what is around us, but the value of listening to our own thoughts.

  4. I agree that the world at large has removed itself from reality by plugging in to something that has no tangible essence. It is unfortunate that we chose to indulge in things of no permanent worth so often. I hope this class reminds us all to keep it real. Here's a quote that I live by for you:

    Chose thy love,
    Love thy choice.

    Life is about perspectives and choices, I hope we all remember that.

  5. This feels suspiciously like yearbook signing day on the last day of high school ...

    I really liked the example employed by this posting of unplugging and listening to the music of nature. I've never owned an ipod, but I still get the message.

    Thanks to everyone for a meaningful semester. Best of luck to you!

  6. I'm not going to unplug right away, but I will unplug as soon as I am done with my online assignments. I agree that it is crucial to let go of the electronic-digital world and breath in the natural beauty around us. The room we had sacrament meeting last Sunday was high up in the Tanner Bldg. with huge windows overlooking the Wasatch Mountains. I was breath taken. We need to take a moment and ponder the grandeur of this amazing home we call Earth.