Faith and Flow! What have these to do with a life on the go? A lot of power and a spiritual glow!
I'll let you in on a little secret, all of my blog posts however long or short are typically completed in one sitting within two hours or so(Not counting proofreading and editing though.). I don't spend hours on end planning and perfecting every little detail. I don't have any grand scheme here to attract and brainwash readers with my messages or anything complicated like that. My greatest works in life, whether they be blogs or statistics assignments or sewing projects or carpentry work are all produced with having faith that if I let myself loose and go with the ebbs and flows of life I can and will figure out the most intelligent, meaningful, and enjoyable ways to accomplish just about anything.
Because of this I would say that I am living my life ever more similar to Anime! One thing that really amazes me about my anime heroes is how they are able to continue on with their battles and adventures no matter what is happening. Take Code Geass, even when there are "breaks" from the action of the war with Brittania the events that unfold remain perfectly relevant and even useful to the main plot. Early in his rebellion Lelouch has to contend with the character Mao who brainwashes Shirley (Lelouch's friend/love interest) and uses her as a pawn to screw with Lelouch, presumably as a part of his hunt for C.C. who is his whole world. Technically this arc is a departure from the main issue of overthrowing Brittania, finding the truth about Lelouch's mother and protecting his crippled sister Nunally, but the writers did an excellent job of keeping everything flowing together.
The image above here has some nice touches to it that are dependent upon the main story line. That gun Shirley is pointing at Lelouch is his own gun which he had under the guise of Zero, which she took from him shortly before learning his identity, while he was on a mission to capture Cornelia because of his failure to do so at Narita, which was where Shirley's father died because of Zero's/Lelouch's carelessness, which is why Shirley was involved in trying to find Zero's identity with the prodding of Viletta Nu, who had her Knightmare stolen by Lelouch just after he received Geass power, which caused her loss of rank which incentivized her find the boy who did that to her. Woohoo! That was a mouthful, but it beautifully illustrates the amazing and gorgeous flow of the whole situation!
The credit owed to the writers for the accomplishment is enough of a reason on its own to marvel at this flow. But I want to look at the philosophical implication that the writers put forth with how the character's life choices create it. If you watch Code Geass you might notice that Lelouch accepted the terms of C.C.'s "contract" without knowing what the hell the terms even were! It seemed like a reckless decision he was forced into because he was on the verge of being shot dead and needed power to escape fast! But he went for it. In order to do this he needed complete faith that somehow this decision, though it may come with downsides and sacrifice was ultimately the best thing for him to do to achieve his goals so he took up the Geass power and went on to become Zero, a man who would have to make really tough decisions that would lead him to lose a hell of a lot including people he loved for the sake of conquering the mighty Brittanian empire that controlled most of the world, to free that world from the dismal past and moving it into a bright future..
Now, I think there are great lessons to be learned here. How often have we all failed to carry out some kind of interesting and exciting project or adventure because we got hung up on the risks and rewards analysis or because it hurt too much to think about past failures with the issue of interest. I know I've done it a hell of a lot. For much of my young life I was a shy and sacred little boy who never fueled the fire for fear of being burned by it. I never liked living like that and I am not only proud but happy about the the fact that I am breaking free from it! I live my happiest life when I can dive into something and lose myself. I never would have thought that sewing a simple t-shirt would be so much fun because it seemed like a tedious and difficult task. But at some point I got tired of waiting for the perfect time, tired of waiting for the absolute set of perfect conditions that would enable me to become all powerful, I realized that that time would never ever come...
But I didn't need it to come...
I decided that I just needed to have faith in myself and in life and just go with the ______. (You can fill in the blank.) ;)
I just sifted through my collection of pics until I found something good. My friend sent me this to inspire my quest to make kimonos and yukatas.
I was stunned at finding a cure for my ADD. Let me tell you, I sat for hours at a time stitching and stitching and stitching. It was a lot of fun to do all that tedious work and that experience may have led to my ability to patiently work through intense statistics calculations that earned me three 100%'s in a row on stats exams with extra credit on top of that!
In the Chuunin exams in the anime "Naruto" Shikamaru goes up against Temari in a duel and it's pretty obvious that Shikamaru doesn't want to be there. He muses about how great it would be to live as a cloud just going where ever the breeze takes him. This is normally framed as laziness on his part, but I see a connection between this lazy attitude and the Faith and Flow philosophy I'm talking about here. Shikamaru ultimately accepts the fact that he must fight the duel because there's really no other option, but he manages to go with it spectacularly. Temari thinks she can overcome his shadow manipulation and possession powers by staying out of range, but Shikamaru turns the tide by making use of what he's got on the board already.
He waits for the sun to lower to extend the shadows, he throws his shirt in the air attached to a kunai like a parachute to make a shadow to extend it more, and finally her catches Temari with the underground shadows by going through a hole Naruto made in the ground! Noted as being super intelligent, the key to Shikamaru's intelligence and success may have a lot to do with his ability to just go with the flow. It's useless to wish for a better situation or advantages you simply don't have but that's okay. Just do what you can with what you have where you are and believe that it will be enough!
As fun as reading may be we all need a break from the text...hell I even need a break from writing it at times.
Now I don't typically have people dying on me like Lelouch, nor am I risking my life on an ordinary basis like Naruto and friends. But we still have psychological hang ups that hold us back from taking even the slightest risks to get our rewards. I must confess I embarrassed myself a bit at the fabric store. You're supposed to take the cloth you want off the rack and then bring it to someone in the back to be cut to the amount you need...but I tried to just take the whole damn roll and buy every bit while getting confused looks from the cashiers...hehehehehe :P.
I actually considered quitting out of shear embarrassment, but I was determined not to be so weak and pathetic so I decided that the best course of action was to just have faith and dive into the flowing river of life!
In the end I really enjoyed myself, I'm on the road to making my anime/Japan inspired clothing and activities and I also gained a story worth telling on my blog! This greatness and productivity and fun would never have happened if I had let fear and an attachment to excessive structure hold me back.
Ultimately what I'm driving at is that the flow of an anime story is a reflection of a well lived life. The way the characters decide that while they can't foresee every detail they will remain determined to succeed and press forward, everything being so connected we just have to find the one thing that we can pounce on to move ourselves forward. This concept will lead me into my next post which is about what I call the Anime Life Crash. That's what I like to think of as the first domino tipped to start the flowing chain of life's events!
I encourage you to watch Code Geass if you haven't yet. It's one of my all time favorites! I also encourage you to believe in yourself regardless of your circumstances, because I believe that no matter what you're dealing with there are always options you can discover that will empower you to make progress! You don't know everything that will happen but that's precisely what makes stressing over the unexpected so pointless. Cry if you must, get angry if you must, and feel pain if you must, but don't ever give up. Have Faith and go with the Flow...
I wish you well mina-san.