The Wandering Monk

Brewmaster Rysu – New Posts On Tuesdays


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Suicide: What are we thinking?

If you haven’t heard, I am sorry to be the one to tell you.  Co-Lead Singer and powerful, dynamic vocalist Chester Bennington of Linkin Park was found dead this morning.  The cause of death was apparent suicide.

Prior to his death, Linkin Park released a new album titled “One More Light” and the song for which the album was named was about those who endure the suicide of their loved ones and coping with such loss and anger that must follow.  It was penned by Chester, presumably about his close friend Chris Cornell, who committed suicide two months before.

I won’t even pretend to know what Chester was going through — whether through his loss of his close friend, or from any of the other demons he must have been privately facing — but there is something to be said about a man who has always had a way of describing and and writing about emotions that plague us all in deep, yet simple methods.  We can hear a variety of Linkin Park songs and find notes that touch private places of our emotional memory and give us a kind of empathy.

It’s through this connection to Linkin Park that we’ve grown with them over the years.  And it’s only through this connection that we can peer into the emotional surface of Chester’s ocean of unknown emotional depths.

Consider that Chester knew full well what agony those who survive a loved one’s suicide go through — first hand, as he has only recently gone through it — yet he decided to go through with it.  Consider what torment he must have had and how much he must have agonized over it.  Who knows if he had these ideations when he was writing “One More Light” or if they came around after his friend’s death.

We may never know what he was thinking or what he was going through.  Even if he spelled it out for us, we would be a third party to the private rollercoaster he was on, watching from afar and only hoping to understand it in some way.

What is more compelling still is that he isn’t a man who is ‘new’ to the emotional spectrum.  His entire life had, in some way, been a process of developing coping mechanisms with emotional situations.  He was no stranger to that battlefield.  Yet on the surface, he was able to be both calm and expressive, focused and creative.

And finally, what I find most compelling, is that such a face seen each day by his friend and family was one that hid such torment, inside a person so well tuned to the demons he was facing.  In many ways, others looked to him as an example — that if someone like him can make it, then we’ve all got a shot.

What are we thinking now?

I’m thinking that we must never forget that we know next to nothing about those we encounter each day.  I’m thinking that we must always remember that we all have our own demons to face and we must face them each and every day — and that just because we all have them, doesn’t make them any less dangerous for each of us.  And that if they win, that no amount of success or emotional intelligence can save us.

It’s in times like these that we should embrace compassion.  Keep the darkness from the edge of our sight by keeping the light of what makes our lives positive in our focus.

Perhaps in some way, we can look at the poetry of his death with a kind of beauty.  I mourn the loss of such a talented and creative person, and I do not celebrate the loss.  But a man who can write an album that comforts his dearest friends and family and faces his end while honoring his close friend’s death.. well, let’s just say it’s one, final example of his beautiful mind and his expressive heart, as tragic and as punctuated as it is.

I’ll end this post with the lyrics from ‘One More Light’.  Mr. Bennington, where ever you are, we love you and we miss you.  Thank you for sharing so much of your gift with the world.

Feature Image by ariefpeinz

LINKIN PARK – One More Light

Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored?
Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore?
We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep
There are things that we can have, but can’t keep

If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

The reminders pull the floor from your feet
In the kitchen, one more chair than you need oh
And you’re angry, and you should be, it’s not fair
Just ’cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it, isn’t there

If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

Well I do

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The Contrast of Perception

Perhaps I’ve talked about this a lot.  Perhaps I’ve even talked to you about it directly, depending if you’ve known me long enough.  If so, you’ll know that I look at perspectives with an inquisitive mind.  Perhaps it’s a bit abstract, but I try to see the world in terms of cause and effect.

With this in mind, one general rule I’ve come to rely on is that people gain perspective and learning experiences based almost completely on how sharp the contrast between what is ‘normal’ and what is ‘extreme’.

For example, if a boy grows up his whole life being screamed at by his parents or in a noisy, squabbling sort of household, he might not be as affected when, in his adult life, he is again yelled at.  He will have generated coping mechanisms that he uses to get through it.  He becomes callous to it.  Sure, it will probably also not help him heal; he’ll probably be more prone to being reminded of that if it was traumatic for him, but realistically he’ll handle it better than a person who wasn’t yelled at at all in their lives and then suddenly gets screamed at.

Imagine you’ve never seen, felt, or in any way experienced fire.  Then someone gives you a glove and tells you to pick up a hot pan.  You don’t feel the heat of the pan because the glove insulates against it.  You’ve yet to learn that lesson.  The lesson that fire burns.

But then, once, you forget to put the glove on.  In your naivete, you grab the pan and the searing pain shoots through you like a thousand needles of screaming agony.  This shock instantly burns into your mind that you should not touch things that are hot, why safety is important, and what the consequences are for such a mistake.

Now imagine the opposite — you have the unique experience of having a family of metal workers who regularly involve you in their work.  Since a child you’re used to the heat and you’ve probably burned yourself hundreds of times, each one teaching its lesson.  In your adult life, you aren’t nearly as responsive to the occasional sting of fire.  You might touch a pan that’s too hot once, but you’ll be more tempered than our last example.

The driving point here is contrast.  If ‘normal’ is closer to the ‘extreme’, then the reaction is lessened. 

Think about this in terms of everything in our lives.  At work, I do IT.  Often, I’m called upon by the end user to fix problems.  Every single one of them says to me, in some way, “this is critical for me to do my job” or “I NEED this right now, or I can’t work.”

They’re doing this because they want to apply the shock of their situation to me, so that I am (I can only assume) more motivated to resolve the issue.  What they don’t realize is that it’s not motivating, it’s annoying.  I don’t like to complain, but in this, it seems like they’re insinuating that I’m some how not going to put their problem in the correct context.  I’m not going to give them the priority they think they deserve.  And they think that if they tell me all their worries and woes, that it’ll make me some how summon a greater sense of empathy and compassion that I already have for them, in order to get them what they want faster.

The truth is, I do my best to get everything done as quickly as I can, and psychological manipulation attempts don’t change how I do it.  But I also imagine that this works for other people, and that’s terrifying.  Imagine a world where people overreact to a self-proclaimed crisis and try to pull the fire alarm every time something even minor goes wrong.  That behavior teaches our children and shapes our culture to become alarmists and to stop developing coping mechanisms.  It enables panic as the first response instead of critical thinking and common sense.

It’s the opposite of an intellectual reaction.

My biggest challenge here isn’t the people who knee-jerk react.  It’s the people that support it.  There has to be a manager or a thinking person somewhere in the chain that says “Listen, I need you to calm down and put this into perspective.”

And this person should be the one that’s supported by his or her management.  Not the knee-jerk crowd who thinks stamping their feet and yelling louder is going to make a difference.

Talk to you soon.

Feature Image by: https://www.oratium.com/


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Cheering and Beering

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post that kept the “Brew” in “BrewmasterRysu.com”, so I thought I’d share something that made me smile that’s right up that alley.

A friend of mine in Mexico heard I like to make the special brew on occasion, and said he has to come up to Alaska to try it some day.  It made me realize that, no matter where you’re from, there’s always a cheery, celebratory sort of feeling when it comes to enjoying a frothy mug with some friends.

I really don’t understand it fully, but there’s nothing quite the same as sampling the local pub or exploring the local microbreweries in search of a new creation.  Across the country and, indeed, across the world, there are always people willing to clink glasses and smile and laugh with you no matter who you are or where you’re from.

That kind of unity is baffling.  On one hand, the world is filled with violence and discrimination.  People are practically begging for excuses to hate each other.  But in those rare nook moments where you’re enjoying the intricate work of a brewing artist with a crowd of diverse people, that all seems to go away.

Maybe I’m wearing rose-tinted glasses, and things aren’t like I’m saying.  Maybe I just want them to be that way.  Heck, I’d make it my life’s work to brew beer if I knew it would help make the world a more peaceful place.  Maybe I still will.  Who knows?

All I do know is that I hope that everyone finds joy in the companionship of their friends and in the knowledge that I’ll toast to you no matter where you’re at.

Cheers!

Featured Image from Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (www.blizzard.com)