Thursday, October 29, 2015

The scent of a memory

As the stinging scent of onions lingered in the air and a cold draft blew in from the kitchen window, I was transported back about thirty years. I could see the onions sizzling on a well oiled pan. The lid of the old fashioned enamel stove was propped open and leaning against the white tiled wall. The cold air blew in from the kitchen door that had been left open, just a crack. The children ran up and down the side courtyard screaming and laughing. I was one of them.

There I stood this morning, in my own kitchen but at the same time in my grandmother's narrow, drafty kitchen in Santiago, Chile. I was ten years old and I had no care in the world other than playing with my cousins and making sure not to step on the delicate grass my grandmother took such good care of all year long.  Every summer break I spent about two months in a cold wintery Chile. It was a memory that I had not recalled in many, many years. This morning however, while preparing for my little one's lunch, I was transported simply because of the mixture of a cold drafty breeze and some sizzling onions. Our sense of smell is so powerful! 

Did you know that smell is more closely linked with your memory, more so than any of our other senses? Have you ever been transported back in time by the scent of a woman's lingering perfume or the smell of a certain food that reminded you of a certain time of your life? It's incredible what the sense of smell can do. It can jog our memory so much so that we literally feel that we have traveled back in time. 

Smell not only jogs our memory but it is also strongly connected to our emotions. The perfume industry knows this very well. They profit from it. Our sense of smell is so powerful it can motivate us or even deter us from doing something. It can draw us closer to someone or make us run in the other direction. 

The beauty of the sense though is that it carries with it a memory, an emotion. It can trigger a flood of emotions in just a second. Stop by the perfume counter and you will see what I mean. Our bodies are truly amazing. Smell is something we really don't think about. In many ways we take it for granted until pow! It triggers a memory from the past and we realize, wow! What power our senses have!

...The square red tiles were tracked with mud as we swished passed her, darting through the kitchen door. She had chased us out with her now dripping wet mop. She swirled it around and mumbled under her breathe as she always did when she got upset. She then poked her head out the window that was right above the stove, where the onions were sizzling. She gave us one final warning but she did it with a smirk. She was delighted we were all there, despite the mud and the screaming and the running in and out of the kitchen. We continued about our very important business of playing until it was time for lunch.  Lunch was an important affair. We would sit down for a long drawn out meal. How I miss those times. How I miss my grandmother. 

All that from some onions and cool air. Go figure. What scent has jogged your memory of late?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Before we begin...

So before we begin our journey in learning to extract the true, good and beautiful from life's everyday imperfections, let us lay down some ground rules. Let us agree that where we can meet, this virtual meeting place if you will, is like a place where we can strive to find these virtues together.

The topics, as I mentioned prior will be varied in scope: from current events, to moral issues and even light topics filled touching upon everyday situations. Why not? There is no real focus on any specific topic because everyday life is filled with all kinds of situations, circumstances and experiences.

The general idea is to walk this path together and help one another pursue these virtues because essentially it is human to desire what is true, good and beautiful. Yes! I am Christian, and therefore I cannot but help to present topics from a Christian vantage point, my Christian vantage point.

If we are to enter into a written exchange of ideas, there must be respect and the willingness to listen. That is it!

Let us listen to one another. Let us learn from one another and let us respect one another. Some topics are obviously more sensitive than others. Yet, respect can still be present.   Let us acknowledge that we are all coming from different places, yet we are all heading in the same direction: to seek what is true, good and beautiful in this imperfect life.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Welcome! Come and join me.


Welcome to my new blog. I am excited you have come to visit. This is a new endeavor I have decided to take up in order to become more aware of the truth, goodness and beauty that lies within each and every day. Because I love writing about varied things, this blog will not be on any particular topic. What is true? What is good? What is beautiful? That's what this blog will be all about.

So why "wholly imperfect"? Well, this life is imperfect. Agree? Take a look around. Take a look in the mirror. We are all imperfect. We are all living this entirely imperfect life. Why not share the journey? Yet, precisely because it is imperfect, we have plenty of wiggle room to focus on the truth, goodness and beauty. These are in fact the things that every person searches for. Aren't you? I believe this is a great place to meet you. It's perfect specifically because you and I are in search of the same things, no matter where our starting point was.

Who is not in search of truth? When truth is heard, it touches the most profound part of our soul, our heart and our mind. We are able to recognize truth, because it already dwells within us. Goodness? It too is recognized with the heart. Goodness permeates from the soul. It is inevitably recognized as soon as it is seen or felt. And what of beauty? They say beauty is within the eyes of the beholder, yet there is universal beauty. Beauty too, is indwelling.

So here we are. You and I. Living imperfect lives, but learning from each imperfection as we journey along each day. We can learn with grace. We can learn together. And, we can learn from each other! There is a great spanish saying that says "There is no bad that good cannot come from" (No hay de mal que por bien no venga). So we can even learn from the ugly stuff. Even there we can learn to extract and squeeze out, for all it's worth, the truth, goodness and beauty. Suffering, is never in vain. We just have to train ourselves to be able to do this.

Want to learn with me? I am learning along the way. I'm in this for the long haul. Which brings me to the point where I tell you how this all came about.

Recently, I had a change of heart you see. Nonetheless, I am nowhere near being cured, so to speak. I have a critical outlook on life. I am an ever-dissecting and introspective character. I think. I think way too much. And sometimes, I think so much that I forget to see what sometimes lies just beneath the surface. I get stuck on the rough edges; the bumps in the road; the not so beautiful stuff. So this really cool guy has made me examine my own outlook. He has given me a new vision; a new way of looking at the world. His name is Pope Francis. He looks at the world with eyes of hope, mercy and pure love. What a beautiful soul he is. Read his words some time.

Oh and yes, I am Catholic. That is no secret.

So in order to get moving to where we should be heading, you and I...let's end this monumental first post with some inspiration.

I would like to dedicate this blog to a very important figure that changed my life many years ago. Without his words and his influence I would not be who I am today. Really. His feast day is today, October 22.  It is Saint John Paul II. Two Popes huh? Yep. That's me.

So come journey with me. Let us become friends and let us extract what is true, good and beautiful from life's everyday imperfections.