This Vessel or Why Everyone Should Practice Creativity or Horcruxes Are Real: Here’s My Proof

I started doing something yesterday. No one told me to do it. It just popped into my head and it seemed like a good idea so I went with it.

I started calling my body, “this vessel”.

I am not my body and my body is not me. I’m not my thoughts and I am not my feelings. I am not even my actions.* I am a spirit, energy, a soul. I am something my mind does not comprehend because our minds exist within a specific framework and “I” exist outside that framework. I use my mind, my mind does not use me. I exist outside of it. I use my body, my body does not use me. I don’t really know who the “I” or “me” or “my” are in those sentences. “I” doesn’t seem to accurately describe it. But here we are. I am me.

So saying “my body” is accurate because it is the body I have control over, it is the one I use. But there are certain connotations with the phrase “my body”, at least for me, that keep me from really understanding what my body is.

One, there’s the idea that this vessel, my body, IS the embodiment of “me”. That this flesh represents who I am. But as I’ve already said, I am not my body.

A lot of emphasis is put on physique, weight, appearance, health. But these are all flesh issues, not soul issues. And it makes sense, in a way, because our flesh is the most visible part of us. It’s the part of us most frequently judged by others. Our appearance sends messages to others, some we intend and others we do not. My weight, tattoos, skin color, hair style, nose ring, height, clothing – they all send a message. A message I can’t even know because it is only known to the one receiving the message. I can try to send out a message with the choices I make regarding my appearance and a lot of times those messages can be received as I intend them.

But I am not my body. I live inside this flesh, it is not me. It will one day die but I will live on. How can something that I outlive be me?

Two, there’s the idea that this vessel, my body, is all I have. Once this flesh dies, I am no more. My spirit, energy, soul lives on somewhere else. But to the living world, I am gone. So we must work to keep our flesh in top running condition for as long as possible because it is all we have. It is our only connection to the living world.

I don’t believe this either. I believe we impart a piece of ourselves in everything we create and when others enjoy our creation, they are enjoying a tiny piece of us. This blog, for example, contains dozens of tiny snapshots of my soul that I wrote down and sent into the world for others to enjoy. When I go back and reread some of the things I’ve written, I see a younger version of myself that I’d forgotten existed and I feel her feelings and see through her eyes. They are tiny horcruxes** that allow my spirit and soul to live on, long after my flesh is gone.

The Mona Lisa is arguably the most famous painting ever created. It was created in 1503 and Leonardo da Vinci, the artist who painted her, has been dead since 1519. It has literally been 500 years since he died and we are still utterly fascinated by this painting and by him. People still analyze it, study it, try to copy it, and flock to see it. Why? It is because it is a horcrux that contains both the soul of da Vinci and the soul of Lisa, herself. A horcrux, if you remember from Harry Potter, is an object used to store part of a person’s soul, protecting him or her from death.** When we look at this painting, feelings rise up within us, whether we want them to or not, something of the artists’ soul was left on that canvas.

Visit any art gallery, go to any concert, read any book, look at a beautiful garden or enjoy a delicious piece of pie. You’ll find a part of the creator’s soul.

So my body, this flesh that I occupy, it’s only one vessel for my spirit, energy, soul. There are so many others: the stories and songs I’ve written, the recipes I’ve poured a part of myself into, the moments I’ve shared with my loved ones. I left a tiny piece of myself in all these, a piece I wanted to share with the world. Some day, when my flesh is gone, part of me will still live on in the things I’ve created. Perhaps this is why so many people feel the call to create and why everyone should practice a little creativity from time to time. To remind ourselves that we are more than these vessels we occupy.

This is one reason I started calling my body, “this vessel”, because it’s only one vessel that I occupy. And not even the most important one.

It’s also the one vessel that I know of that connects me to the living world but I really can’t say that for sure because, to my knowledge, I haven’t died yet. But since I DO know that here and now, it connects me to the living world, I need to take care of it as long as I’m interested in staying here. This vessel is a vehicle to travel the land of the living and just like I take care of my car, I should take care of this vessel.

Thinking of it this way helps me see that my health doesn’t define me and there are some things about my health I have no control over. Maybe your car doesn’t have power windows, that’s ok, you’ll just have to use the hand crank. The vessel I’m living in doesn’t handle gluten well. That’s ok! It’s not ideal but it’s manageable. It doesn’t say anything about ME, the being living in the vessel. But it tells me that if I want the vessel to function well, I should avoid gluten. If I want my car to run well I have to put in the correct fuel and oil, why should my body be any different?

I have not always been kind to this vessel, both mentally and physically, and I would wager that every single person reading this without exception can say the exact same thing. But if I view my body as just one vessel to live in, I separate my worth from it, I am not defined by it. And if I view my body as just the vessel I occupy, I can take care of its needs and issues without wrapping up my sense of self and value in it.

This flesh is just one vessel that I live in. It needs maintenance and care but it is not all that I am. Just like water leaves the banks of the river to join the mighty ocean, one day I will not occupy this vessel but that doesn’t mean I won’t live on.

So it’s weird and a lot of people will probably think I’m completely nuts but that’s ok. I’m going to keep thinking of my body as “this vessel”. Because there is so much more to me than my flesh and because my spirit, energy, soul is already out there in tiny horcruxes, keeping me alive long after my flesh dies. This is just one of my vessels.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Peace.

 

 

* I am not even my actions seems like a problematic statement. Some would argue that our actions are the only true way to define us. But that doesn’t take into account people who are drugged, people with mental illness, those forced to do things beyond their control, people with OCD or Tourettes, this list goes on and on. It also doesn’t take into account people who made mistakes and have since changed their lives and behaviors. While some people would probably love to be defined by their actions, others hope they will not be and some hope their actions will be left in the past or forgotten. I personally do not want to be defined by past actions as I have changed and grown since then.

** Horcruxes

Let’s have some fun. 

I want something to write about but I want you to help me. I will write a short story about the first 7 things people write in the comments. 

Rules:

  1. You may only comment once. 
  2. The comment must be one word only. 
  3. The comment must be rated PG. 
  4. You must think the comment in “pirate speak” before typing. 
  5. Pics count as a comment, as long as it’s only one pic, rated PG and you’re thinking about the pic the way a pirate would. 
  6. If you live near me and you comment, could you please high five me next time you see me? Actually, can you high five me even if you don’t comment. I don’t get enough high fives. (Ok, I do but I really like high fives.)

Ok, comment away! First 7! Let’s do this! 

The Very Sad, Fat Sheep

Recently, I bought a game called “Story Cubes” for us to use as a creative writing tool during school.  We used them for the first time yesterday.  There are 9 dice with a different picture on each of the 6 sides.  You roll all 9 of the dice and then try to construct a story from whatever pictures you get.  Here is the story the three of us came up with after our first roll.

The Very Sad, Fat Sheep

Once upon a time there was a really fat sheep.  The sheep ate so much he was really unhappy with his figure.  The sheep was sad.  He was so sad he ate 50 gallons of ice cream and weighed himself.  And then he was sadder.  But what he didn’t know was that the scale he used was enchanted and it spoke to him.

It said, “Hey, fatty, what do you think I am, the Golden Gate Bridge?”

He was so sad that he jumped into a hot air balloon and tried to fly away but he sunk down to the ground and broke the scale.  He wanted to learn math so he could measure how fat he was so he bought an abacus.  The abacus he wanted to buy was very expensive so he sold his house in order to pay for it.  Now he was fat, sad and homeless.

He decided to eat a bunch of fruit to lose weight.  One of the apples he ate was actually poisoned but he was so fat he survived.  He looked around, he thought he was going to die.  But then something caught his eye.  It was a very rare beetle renowned for its healing properties.  He quickly ate the beetle and it made him all better and even helped him lose all the weight.  He decided to get a job as an accountant because he was so good at math now.

The end.

By Meghan, Sammee and Mommy

Maggie and Joseph

*Disclaimer: this is a short story I wrote as a writing exercise at like 2 a.m.  There are bound to be grammatical errors, etc.  Don’t be so judgy.*

Maggie carefully wedged her journal back into its hiding place, between her mattress and box spring. Joseph would be home any moment. She glanced into the small compact mirror she always kept within reach; her make-up was spot on, her hair perfectly coiffed. She placed the mirror back on the nightstand and sat in bed listening for the front door, the signal that Joseph was home. Nothing but crickets and the hum of the fan. She picked up the magazine she’d purchased that day while waiting in the drug store checkout line and tried to read it. It was useless. She was too nervous, too on edge, she tossed the magazine to the side and smoothed out the wrinkles in the bed covers.

A moment later, just when she was about to give up and start pacing the floor, she heard the familiar sound of the front door opening and closing, followed by heavy work boots stamping across the living room floor to the kitchen. Cabinet doors opened and closed, the refrigerator door opened, something was poured, then it closed again. Finally, the heavy work boots stamped out of the kitchen and down the hall. They stopped just short of the bedroom door. Maggie’s heart nearly leapt out of her rib cage. Her eyes riveted to the door knob, she sat holding her breath.

The knob turned slowly, the door crept open and Joseph, seeing Maggie staring at him, stopped in the doorway, beer in hand.

“Maggie,” he started in surprise, “I didn’t think you’d be up, darlin’.” Maggie had always loved Joseph’s quiet southern drawl.

“Surprised?” she managed, somewhat breathlessly.

“Well, yah,” relaxing a bit, he started walking into the room again, “it’s awful late, darlin’. I told ya I’d be home late tonight. Didn’t need to wait up.”

Maggie reached for something she’d wedged between the mattress and box spring.

“How else could I have given you this, dear?” she asked, her heart exploding in her chest as she raised the .22 caliber revolver into the air and aimed it at Joseph’s heart.

Paralyzed, his beer glass hit the floor, the foamy brown liquid splashing over his boots and soaking into the carpet. Maggie gripped the gun in both hands, steadying her aim and steeling her nerves. She gently squeezed the trigger before Joseph had time to get out, “Now, Maggie, darlin’.” Then he was dead, his blood mixing with the beer in the carpet.

It took Maggie a few moments to realize the gun had actually gone off and Joseph was actually dead. Once she did, she dropped the gun onto the shag carpeting in disgust. She shook all over for a moment but eventually managed to calm herself, breathing in deeply, meditatively.

She picked up her little mirror and checked her hair and make-up again. Perfection. She breathed a sigh of relief and put the mirror away.

Dear Journal, she wrote a moment later. Well, I did it. I finally killed that cheating bastard…

The End.

Gun-pointed-at-camera-300x300

Ben Bold Lives

I finished writing the outline for my first novel tonight (this morning?) at 2 a.m. This is a story I’ve been working on for at least 3 years now, on and off again. I’ve had some major distractions in my life PLUS writing is not my day job. It’s my “stay-up-until-2-am-while-everyone-else-sleeps” job. So get off my back. (JK HAHA)

Anyhoo… I figure if I write one chapter a week, I might have a passable first draft done before the end of the year! Whoopee! I really wanted to stay up until 5 a.m. and knock out chapter one but I decided I didn’t want gobbledygook for the first chapter.

I’m going to bed now. Wheeee!