Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Yes, I'd like help down from this tree"

I'm posting today to just share an intriguing thought.

How we respond to the trials in our lives says a lot about us. I think that's a true statement. We have all met someone who could tell you all the hard times they've had, and are still having, and how awful and stupid their life is, and how they wish they had all your luck... It's almost comical (if it weren't so irking) to see how they twist the events to show how they're the victim. I have tried hard to avoid being that person in conversations. Maybe that's why I've come to think (consciously or not) that recognizing that I'm having a hard time or talking about how hard things have been constituted as wallowing and complaining.

This mentality manifests itself in my life in many ways, but I want to talk about one of them today. One particularly damaging part of this mentality (of avoiding talking about the negative) is that it distances you from people who could help you. It's hard to ask for help if you won't even acknowledge that you need it.

I was talking with a family member after having my baby about how things had been going that first week home when it occured to me that I was tottering between two states while I talked with her—wanting to show that I was grateful for all the things that were going well and not being "complainy," and wanting to share how truly worn out I was and how I was struggling emotionally. I was trying to do both at once, and that was making it hard to share my whole experience with her.

Then it struck me that if I would acknowledge the more "dark" side of how I felt, she might be able to help me feel better. And I wanted to feel better.

If I freely shared with her the true depth of sadness and pain I was experiencing, then I could allow her to help me in a very real way, either by listening and validating what I was saying or continuing to give support as I eased into my new role. And later on we could both say that she had served me. If I didn't recognize and share how bad I really was feeling, I would be refusing to let her help me to the extent that I really needed. If she did help and later on I refused to see how low I had gone, I would also be blind to how much she had lifted me. I wouldn't be able to obscure the darker elements of how I felt without diminishing the great service she rendered me.

I think this especially applies in our relationship with the Savior. It can be tempting to ignore the harshness and dire consequences for those who sin after the Fall (i.e., all of us), because eternal damnation doesn't sit well with most people. But if we ignore how lost and fallen we are, we are refusing to allow Him to help us because we are refusing to acknowledge that that help is needed, let alone to ask Him for it.

Credit: ballswinger on Pixabay
Also, if I refuse to accept that I'm struggling, or that my struggle is, yes, really hard for me, then I'm robbing the Savior of the glory I could give Him for saving me. It's like the difference between the acclaim deserved by someone who single-handedly rescued a room full of children from the murderous intentions of rouge militants and the light kudos deserved by someone who saved the house cat from the tree it climbed and was too scared to alight from. Maybe by refusing to say I'm having a really, REALLY hard time, I'm refusing to say that the Savior can help and heal us through really, REALLY hard things—because He is THAT powerful.

And I don't want to deny the power of Christ, or to withhold the praise He deserves. So I am trying to be more honest about how I'm actually doing when those close to me ask—in the positive aspects of my life as well as the negative ones.

(I should add that I'm doing fine—my experience having a baby was wonderful and hard at the same time. Those closest to me have and are helping me with the adjustments, including the emotional rollercoaster that hormones facilitate.)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Becoming Born of Christ

As I was preparing for a lesson to teach my YW class, I came across a verse in Mosiah that made me say "hmm." It is during the speech that King Benjamin gives to his people before he dies. He had taught them about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and throughout invited them to become better and take responsibility for their own actions. This is the verse:
"And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters." (Mosiah 5:7)
 It came after this verse, of the people explaining the covenant they desired to make:
"And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God." (Mosiah 5:5)
The phrase that stuck out to me was "ye are born of him [Christ]"—and the phrase "he [Christ] hath spiritually begotten you." This probably stuck out to me because I have been interested in pregnancy and birth lately. Let's see what we may be able to learn by delving into this metaphor. How does Christ spiritually beget us? How does this process come about? How can we help it? What does that mean about our relationship to Him?

King Benjamin tells us how he knows that the people were born of Christ. He says "for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him." So the evidence of being born of Christ is having our hearts changed through faith on His name. 

How does this change come about? The people's change in their hearts began when they listened to the prophet's voice, believed his words, and then received a more sure testimony that what he taught was true (Mosiah 5:2,4).  
Mosiah 5:4
"And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceedingly great joy."
That sounds really cool! How can I exercise faith in the words of prophets, so I can come to a great knowledge, cease to desire to do evil, and then be able to rejoice with great joy?

A look at King Benjamin's people's progression to this point uncovers that they had a very active role in becoming born of Christ.
  1. First, they listened to the words of their prophet.
  2. Then the fear of the Lord came upon them. (Mosiah 4:1)
  3. They "viewed themselves in their own carnal state" and called with one voice (suggesting unity with each other?) to the Lord for mercy and to apply the atoning blood of Christ so they could receive forgiveness of their sins, and so their hearts would be purified. (Mosiah 4:2)
  4. They express belief—faith—in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. (Mosiah 4:2)
And as a result of those sincere desires, faith, and action, the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, bringing them 1) joy, 2) a knowledge of a remission of their sins, and 3) peace of conscience. (Mosiah 4:3)

Basically they repented of their sins, received a witness of the Spirit, and (from earlier in the post) had their very hearts and desires change for the better. And then they desired to covenant with the Lord, and became born of Christ.

I think it's cool how clear these steps are, for how amazing the consequences are. Who doesn't want joy, to know they've been forgiven of their sins, and peace in their hearts?

Looking at these chapters has made me want to learn more about being born of Christ. How else is repenting and making covenants like being born? How else does it affect us? How is it related to the ordinance of baptism? What does it mean for our relationship with Christ and the Father? How does the progression go from there—are there more parallels with a new and developing baby? I have a feeling all of the answers will be simple ones I already know about the gospel, but looking at things I already know from a new perspective can be pretty cool, so I'm going to try it!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Marriage and Family and Truth

I felt a profound sadness when I heard about the US Supreme Court decision on June 26. Initially I felt disinclined to share my thoughts about it, until I realized that if I don't share them, then people will never know what I think. So I'll share a few things that have come to mind.

I believe in the marriage of a man and a woman because that is what is necessary for God's plan of happiness to work. God ordained this specific union to be the way for His children to achieve certain blessings only available to families, and families connected through generations. The way that God provided for that to happen was for a man and a woman to be married, unite emotionally, spiritually, and physically, to create a family unit, starting with just the two of them. This family unit would have the gifts and contributions of both of the sexes, and would offer them unique opportunities to learn and grow by working together toward creating a unit that would last through time and eternity.

In order for us to learn and grow, we needed to obtain physical bodies to house our spiritual bodies. Through their physical union, both the husband and wife contribute to the beginning of a new body forming. Then the woman's body nurtures it and helps it grow, and the baby (body and spirit) is born to the couple. It is their responsibility to see that the baby is fed, clothed, taught, and otherwise taken care of. They naturally love the child, and have a natural incentive to care for it—in a sense, it is theirs.

Creating bodies for (inviting to come to earth) and raising children is not the only purpose of marriage. Couples married in God's way are sealed for eternity, and they are promised blessings that depend on them staying a couple, together forever. The blessings they receive are for both of them, obtained only together. I believe that marriage is meant to last forever, and that God has additional purposes for it beyond the grave, some that we cannot even fathom.

Our wedding rings
 Photo by Jessica Kiel
But why does this matter in a discussion about a law that will only be here on earth, in one nation on earth?

Truth affects all of us, no matter how aware we are of it. Fighting against the truth or acting contrary to what it teaches us does not bring progression. When we deny a power like God, or moral law, we choose to act contrary to truth, and lay ourselves bare to the inevitable negative consequences, just as we receive positive consequences for choosing to act according to the truth (see Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21). For example, lying to a friend to cover up something you did will make you feel bad inside, and will damage your relationship with your friend. Pretending that lying is good does not change the consequence for doing it.

I want to live in a nation that recognizes truth and acts accordingly. Or at least doesn't act completely contrary to truth for the sake of popularity or political correctness or whatever.

When "marriage equality" is treated as a civil right, it threatens my ability to act on the truth that I know without persecution. And that is bad, especially when the very things I see as wrong, and the actions and lifestyles I want to teach my children to avoid, are not only ratified by, but also promoted by, the country I live in. It  also threatens to make it not only acceptable but the reigning policy to persecute me and treat me like a bigot for not recognizing what the state now defines as a civil right. All because I believe an eternal law that contradicts what is now national law.

Condoning a relationship that inevitably leads to serious sin is not tasteful to me. But not because I hate people who choose to live a gay lifestyle—it's because I hate to see what they're doing to themselves. Acting on homosexual feelings is sin. Sin separates us from God. I don't want to encourage, or participate in celebrating, behavior that separates anyone from God.

I hope we can learn to learn and act according to truth, loving individuals and being tolerant of others' beliefs in the process.

Additional places to learn about the importance of family in God's plan:
The Proclamation to the World: The Family
"Why Marriage, Why Family" by D. Todd Christofferson
"'Guardians of the Hearth': Establishing, Nurturing, and Defending the Family" from Daughters in my Kingdom
Letter responding to the Supreme Court ruling

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Kusuguri-zeme (Rough draft)

This piece of writing has been in my notebook and the back of my mind for a few years now.  I'm going to share an early draft because that's one of the purposes of this blog—to practice sharing my thoughts, even before I feel they're "perfect" (because they rarely ever get to that stage). It's scary to post something that isn't polished and doesn't say exactly what I want it to yet! Maybe later on I'll take this and revise it and re-post it to show its progression.


Today, a person who I thought was my friend betrayed me—he took away my freedom, made me lie to all my friends, and inflicted pain on me. To make matters worse, he did all of this in my presence, while laughing maniacally. Maybe I need to be better at choosing friends.

What did he do? Inflicted gargalesis in me, in front of family and friends.

It began innocently enough, or so I thought. He came into the room close to where I was standing at a public gathering. I was distracted for a moment by someone talking to me, and that's when he struck. He dove in (I imagine—admittedly, I didn't see this part), eyes flashing maliciously and two fingers ready. He jabbed quickly in, poking my sides. An involuntary burst of laughter forced itself from my throat, followed shortly by a quick jerking motion, making me look like a loony chicken.

He did something I didn't want him to do; he broke my personal bubble! Capital offense. But he didn't stop there.

He proceeded to tickle me until I was on the floor, twitching breathlessly. "Birthday girl! Birthday girl!" he chanted. My friends were laughing with him—he turned even them against me. In a matter of seconds I had been forced to do something I did not want to do: I had kicked and squeaked and snorted and giggled, all without wanting to, or even thinking about it. He had become my domineering puppet master, and I his puppet-slave. Weak from the exertion, I really could not exert my strength enough to stand for several moments after he ceased tickling me.

Tickling—ha! It seems like such an innocent word. But I know, as others do, of its evil nature. My research shows me that such tactics as this young man employed on me are common in multi-sibling homes. One sibling will tickle the other to gain control over him or her. In those "tickling sessions,"
the tickler is not only exerting physical control over the sibling; he is also bullying his sibling psychologically. That psychological damage can follow a child all the way through to adulthood. This kind of bullying for dominion over its victim is hard to stop because the victim gives all the same signs of a ticklee in a tickle fight for fun (to think of doing this for fun!). That brings me to the next charge I place at my ex-friend's door.

A definition of lying is to give a false impression, or to lead others to believe something that is untrue by your words or actions. My (ex-)friend made me lie, in that I was not enjoying being tickled and I didn't want him to tickle me (such an invasion of personal space!), yet he made me laugh and give signs of enjoyment. My outward signs and inward feelings were not in accord, so he was making me lie.

I could even go further without going too far: that he tortured me. In ancient Japan, they called it kusuguri-zeme - merciless tickling. They used to to punish (yes, punish) or otherwise torture high-profile or above-the-law perpetrators. Kusuguri-zeme was easily begun, easily terminated, and left no telling marks to incriminate the administrator of the tickle-torture. Sever other nations have (unofficially of course) used similar methods to punish, humiliate, or otherwise weaken their targets. Among the variety of torture devices used to achieve this most effective pain-inducer were feathers, the fast and easy fingers, and the goat method. This last one was carried out by strapping the victim's feet in the stocks so they couldn't pull away. Then the torturers would pour salt water over the victim's feet to make them attractive to the goat. Then they would release the goat, which would then proceed to lick the sensitive underside of the victim's feet.

Current thoughts on this draft
I know this draft is off the mark, but at least I have something written down!

I'm not sure if I'm going for making the speaker totally serious, or aware that she's being facetious.

I feel like this is a way to point out ways that people interact with each other that make it hard to be true to themselves or to speak their mind. A kind of oppression that is hard to fight because the person imposing it may not realize the position he or she is putting other people in, or past experiences or societal norms say that this kind of behavior is good and acceptable.

In case you haven't heard of it before, gargalesis is the technical term for laugh-inducing tickling.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Some days I don't want to be deep.
Sometimes I want to just talk about something only mildly interesting. Or not worry about what to talk about.
Something that won't tug my heartstrings, set my feelings on fire, or make my mind explode.
In some ways, normal and boring are just what a soul needs.

That is all.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

On Labor

The last few months, after leaving a previous job, the topic of work and what exactly it is has been on my mind. I am thinking of writing a series of posts about work to explore what it is and how the notion of work affects what we choose to do in our daily lives. In this installment, I focus on a synonym for work: labor. 

Labor. What does labor mean?

What I think of first, and maybe this is because I'm looking forward to having a baby, is giving birth. But more generally, labor is work. Typically I think of labor as work that is difficult, but toward a certain end. 

Recently I was reading in the book Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method, and it said something that has made me think. It said that a Hebrew scholar said that the word used to tell Adam that he would work and toil and labor in the field was the same word used to tell Eve that she would work and toil and labor to bear children. I was curious about that, so I looked up a few different versions of Genesis 3:16-18. I didn't find that many of them used the same word, but they did have different words that hit around the same idea, which I thought was interesting. (Here are a couple I looked at Hebrew Interlinear BibleNIV.)

By anonymous (Queen Mary Master) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


One awesome site I found did have the same word. And I'll go into some detail on that now. I hope my clumsy research skills don't completely muddy the original meanings here…

(click on the Hebrew characters to go to the page I got this from)

 1) pain, labour, hardship, sorrow, toil (from Brown

—Brown-Driver-Briggs (Old Testament Hebrew-English Lexicon)2) worrisomeness, that is, labor or pain:—sorrow, toil.—Strong's (Hebrew & Chaldee Dictionary of the Old Testament)

Ok, so lots of cool stuff here. 

A) Since the word is the same, Eve wasn't being singled out and given a terribly painful punishment. And if painful childbirth was to be her curse, then Adam was cursed with a pain that intense as well—do we see that? I don't think there is any specific thing that causes that level of pain. I would conclude that women are not destined for terribly painful childbirth as a result of this "curse." Whew. I'm glad I figured that one out! 

B) Pain was a novel concept to both Adam and Eve. This emphasis or introduction of the notion of pain may have been with the purpose to instruct, rather than simply to punish. More on this in a bit. 

C) They were the same word used in a parallel way. If you take out the notion that these are a punishment, they could simply be tasks or assignments. Kind of like, "Grady's work will be the garden and Taylor's work will be the kitchen." It is their labor, their assignment, to do those things.

D) The definition including "worrisomeness" is interesting. Was this simply telling them that their main concerns would be bearing and rearing children (and all of the worry and toil that entails) for Eve and laboring to provide for his family (and all of the worry and toil that entails) for Adam? This really makes me think that these "curses" are more about telling Adam and Eve what their roles will be (or suggesting the most effective roles, the ones they are best equipped to toil in) and preparing them for what is shortly coming in their sojourn in mortality than about pounding them with terrible punishments. 


I will say that whenever I've read or heard the account of what happened in the Garden of Eden, I've imagined the scene with God speaking to the two transgressors occurring rather like a scene when I had been caught in the act doing something my parents had explicitly told me not to do. I imagine the sinking feeling in my stomach, the shame burning in my cheeks, the wholly flattened feeling of knowing I had let my parents down, and the frantic flits of my mind to figure out some way to get out of the situation. The feeling of awaiting the swift chop of the blade of justice that is veritably felt hanging over me. The bubbling of resentment and helplessness and anger when the punishment feels more than any child could bear…

In this state of mind, I read or hear the conversation of Adam and Eve with their Father, first hiding, then admitting guilt, and then getting the punishment dealt on them. I'm sure other people have felt the same way I have, considering the negative connotations of "curse," "pain," and "fall," not to mention the familiarity of the situation with those of us who have broken rules and been punished for it. 

But, then there's something new about considering that God, their Father, chose to tell them about the pain in the mortal world. A world they had no way to understand, coming so freshly from complete innocence. And to phrase it in a way that suggested a parallel, an equality between the toil that Eve and Adam would respectively perform. Could it be that he was preparing them? Teaching them?

Izaak van Oosten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I imagine that God, the greatest Father we could ever think of, times about a million, was achieving several purposes in His conversation with his disobedient children. He was explaining the consequences of their actions, warning them of what was to come (which was outside of all of their experience to that point), and preparing them for the best way to organize themselves (in a family, where husband and wife have different roles). 

What was God doing, in addition to explaining the consequences of their actions? Was He also teaching them what a mortal world was like—and how could He explain mortality without the word "pain"? Was he instructing them on what tasks they would need to focus on? His statement about what their worries would be could have been Him telling them what to expect in the world they would so soon walk out into. He instructed them in the roles each of them would fill—Adam as provider and Eve as nurturer of children—as well as warning that life would be hard and painful and potentially confusing for the couple soon to leave the plenty and ease of Eden. 

These things weren't a curse flung at despised recipients; they were assignments and instruction. What a merciful and understanding Father.


By Hans at Pixabay
One more cool little tidbit. The word "sorrow" pops up twice in verse 16 (speech addressed to Eve). The second "sorrow" comes from this Hebrew word


which has some similar definitions with pain, toil, sorrow and labor, but it has a couple different things as well (these definitions are from two different sources). 

1) vessel, creation, object
2) an earthen vessel; usually (painful) toil; also a pang (whether of body or mind):—grievous, idol, labor, sorrow.

So this means that part her work and toil was to be a vessel—an earthen vessel—who creates bodies for her children. Cool!

Is it a coincidence that Adam later chooses to name her Eve, the mother of all living? I have thought it was weird before to take her curse so positively, or to rub it in by naming her after it, but what if it wasn't given with all of the negativity we see in it now? It seems that Adam was giving her the name that would define her, in good and bad—the name of mother.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Take My Yoke Upon You

Recently I was thinking about a scripture that I have loved at different points in my life, but I gained some new perspectives on it that make it even cooler. I thought I would share them here.

This is the scripture:
 Matthew 11:28-30
 "28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

In these verses, Jesus Christ is asking us to come pull His load with Him. I think this is cool for several reasons: He wants us to come be a part of His work. He is inviting us to not only be a part of His work, but to actually work right next to Him. 

I remembered hearing about teams of oxen in a talk by Edward Dube. In a contest to drag a five-ton sledge 3 feet, the teams of oxen who worked together did better than the stronger oxen that didn't work together.

By Klaaschwotzer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In this picture of two oxen yoked together, notice how close they are to each other. They can't even look to the side without the other one knowing about it. They are also both facing forward, and are both squared against the load they're pulling. I imagine the two oxen learning to become a team. One being a little slower to hit the yoke, getting distracted, or trying to pull the load all by himself.

When we act on the invitation to work next to Christ and take His yoke upon us, we're accepting similar conditions. We won't be able to hide our imperfections or laziness from Him (not that we ever can, but we will be more aware that He sees them), nor will we be able to slack off without feeling how it affects His work.

Sounds a little scary, actually. To have be working right next to the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, who is also the Son of God. Could be intimidating, even when your heart's in the right place. But then I thought of this scripture, and I think it sheds a different light on the situation.

Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

So when we get closer to Christ, He will show us our weaknesses. BUT He shows them to us so we will be humble enough to accept His correction and help so we can improve. So our weaknesses can become strengths. And in Matt. 11:29, He says that He is meek and lowly in heart—approachable.

Christ isn't worried about taking a tally of how many times we mess up. We're on the same team, and what He wants is for each of us to learn to be a team with him. To learn how to pull His load with Him. Ok, that's cool. So the process of learning to be a team with Him will be hard, but the end goal is to . . . be a team with Christ. And He's the one offering to be there helping us—being yoked to us—every step of the way!

He wants us to improve, and just like in a team of oxen, where one ox can help the other keep moving forward, He will help keep us on the right track if we accept His yoke. And I've found that that is the case for me—when I consistently read scriptures and pray, I feel the Holy Ghost more in my life, and receive more invitations to delve deeper in the scriptures and to do a little better. I'm sure there is so much more helping power I could tap into if I would just commit to it!

I like having this visual of a team of oxen yoked together as a metaphor for my relationship with Christ. It seems too good to be true, to work side by side with the Savior with Him promising to teach me how to be a better team member, but He's asking me to come—so why not answer?

Monday, March 9, 2015

On Sunlight and Walks

On Sunlight and Walks

I like to walk
On Summer days
to feel the Sun
Its luxious rays

In Fall I feel the
Air so chill
creeping softly up the hill
But hearing crunch
of fallen leaves
brings the warmth of
smile to my cheeks

Winter takes the Sun away
I see it only through the glass
that acts a barrier to the warmth
and—standing—I can only see--not feel--its affects

Spring comes in lurches
Sometimes late
But whether in the morn or eve
Walking outside, begins anew
the Sunlight bursts from within
a paradise of golden whim

Monday, January 5, 2015

Speaking to Be Heard

Speaking to be heard

Why else would you speak?, you ask. These are some reasons I can think of:

To hear yourself talk.
To blend in.
To shock people.
To agree.
To get someone else to stop talking.
To break the uncomfortable silence.

People are uncomfortable with silence, and having words fill the air, regardless of their meaning, is more comfortable for most than a silence that sits heavy on your abdomen. And speaking is a great method of getting someone's attention—some people just speak so people will look at them, so they will be in the spotlight. It's not about their words—it's about them. Sometimes you speak to show that you agree, that you're part of the group, that you want the person speaking and the people nodding to be your friends.

But this post is about speaking to be heard. The kind of talking where you actually want the person to understand something, not just hear you speak, the kind of talking that has a mission other than reflecting the same thing everyone else is saying or drawing attention to yourself.

When—or why—would you speak to be heard?

Because you have something to say that matters.

"Italian Gas Horn" by Edvvc - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Italian_Gas_Horn.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Italian_Gas_Horn.JPG
You have something to say that matters. You have a unique perspective. You experience and feel and have a moral compass, and have wishes and hopes and desires that are good. Are valid. That can inspire people. That can wake others up to beauty, reality, love, purpose, their need to change.

What about when you don't feel like you have something important to say? Or that what matters to you won't matter to anyone else, so you should just keep your mouth shut? And you've talked yourself down (on the inside) so that it doesn't feel important to say what you think, to contribute your opinion, to give voice to the hurt someone has caused you . . . but you should speak up, if only to feel how liberating it is. And how much it helps you value who you are—because honestly, it takes valuing who you are and what you have to say to make the effort to speak up.

So when you have something that feels important to say, say it! You don't know if it might ring true to someone listening, or help you learn more about yourself or the people around you—or even cause a connection with those people—in the process.