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A Call for Clarity: Selected Works

Clarity

About ‘The Call for Clarity’

Early in 2017 we asked you, our Charity Pulse community, what the word clarity meant to you. We asked you to submit your thoughts in writing or in artwork. And, wow, we were overwhelmed with the beautiful responses. For some of you, clarity happens on a long walk, or perhaps out of nowhere, or when you are taking care of others, or even yourself. The following are selections we felt best represented a diversity of perspectives, a power of insightfulness, or a gesture of wonder. We appreciate that you took the time to share your views with us and we look forward to more themed submissions in the future. —The Charity Pulse Team

Sometimes, there’s no denying that the world we live in today can be a bit overwhelming. It’s loud. It’s messy. It’s a maze of growing conflicts, even as we find it easier and easier to accept one another for who we are. Yet somehow, this is also a world where it’s becoming more difficult to be able to find clarity and acceptance of ourselves. There’s never a shortage of opinions, from the best place to eat for lunch to the state of politics. Opinions can be good, don’t get me wrong. The issue lies in how easy it is for them to share and spread like wildfire. And sometimes, many of these opinions will end up thrown your way.

I think there’s always going to be a stage in your life when you find yourself drowning in what your family or friends, or even sometimes strangers, think about you. How they view your actions, the way you live your life, the people you spend time with. It’s almost inevitable, the stream of people who feel the need to constantly tell you to change the way you look, the way you act, criticizing the choices you make, no, go to this college, choose this career, is that really how you want to live your life? Because sometimes the same people asking you to carefully consider how you want your life to play out and to make your own choices are the people who will tell you over and over to change yourself and that you won’t ever be enough if you don’t fit their perfect image of who they think you are.

Sometimes, most of the time, actually, it’s so easy to fall into trying to fulfill everyone else’s expectations that you lose sight of your own. And this, is what can make clarity so hard to find.

Clarity, for me, is something that I could easily find growing up. I think what it means to me is knowing where I am in my life right now, and knowing where I might one day want to end up, and knowing how I want to get there and how I’d like to make things play out. There were a few years where for the life of me, I could not find myself or my voice at all, and it was just this phase of being in constant conflict with myself, my goals, my hopes and dreams and wishes and everything, and the people around me. I think I realized then, how exhausting it can be to fight through life when everything just feels messy and obscure, and there are so many little things I’ve found that help me find clarity when I need it.

Sometimes, take a step back. Re-evaluate. Try and take a look at things from another angle. Sometimes a change in perspective is all you need for things to click the way you need them to.

I look for little things (or big things) that can be causing stress in my life for whatever reason, because god, can they be distracting. More often than not, it’s things that I should try to face sooner rather than later, because the longer you try to put off things that aggravate you, the harder it’ll be to rid yourself of, and that’s always one more thing to worry about and have hovering in the back of your mind that you don’t need and isn’t doing any favors to your clarity.

I go outside. When people say that nature is one of the best remedies, this is definitely one of those instances when it’s true. It’s always great to be able to find a swing in the middle of a quiet park, and to just connect with the world around you. Observe the squirrels going around, or leaves falling, or the sun setting. Take in the sounds around you and the fresh air. Leave your phone at home. I think this helps so much, being able to take a step away from something affecting my clarity, and to just breathe, and remember how alive the world around me is and how I’m right there with it, and have a quiet moment to think.

I’ve always lived my life through stories in one form or another, and it’s definitely how I cope with pretty much everything. Clarity for me comes almost the easiest when I sit down and just write, or by finding a piece to perform that I can relate to in whatever state I’m in and putting everything into that performance, because sometimes for me it takes just that much of my own emotions put into a similar situation for it to click that huh, okay, this is the place I’m in, and I get that now.

But I think, most importantly, clarity can be found by realizing that only you can be responsible for your level of clarity. Sometimes it just seems easier to wait and hope that it will show up if you’re patient and can cope, or that it’s something that other people or just the world at large can give you. And yes, other people can help influence your clarity, but you’re the one who ultimately has to choose to take that step. Clarity is something you can’t just wait for the universe to drop into your lap: sometimes it can be hard, but we all have to actively reach on our own to find our own clarity, learn the negative things that can affect us and stop engaging in them, know our goals and our end point and the path we want to take to them.

It’s always going to be different for everyone, and I’m no expert, but pause, take a breath, maybe two. Know yourself, see yourself, find where you are in life and where you want to be, not what or where others may want you to be. And maybe, hopefully, that will help you and me both find our clarity.

Society declares that we need labels. I love women, so I’m gay. I work at Starbucks so I am a Barista. I was in the foster system when I was younger so I will always be a foster child. These were only a few labels I had and continue to have, and it wasn’t until I decided to ignore what others wanted to call me and focus on myself that I became a lot happier. That’s what I believe Clarity is; looking into yourself and discovering the real you, not what society wants you to be.

Thinking of clarity, to me, is thinking of coming out, of my own story and that of so many.

Because most of us do come out. It might not be related to your sexuality or gender. It may involve not following the expectations of your parents, or complying with what society expects of you. More often than not, it has something to do with overcoming your own personal fears.

Coming out, to me, means finding the clarity to figure out who you are inside, who you love, what is your passion, how do you want to earn your living. Which are your values and what is the cause that makes you tick. Finding your Pulse.

Coming out is for the brave. Regardless of your sexuality or gender, being true to yourself, standing on your own two feet, standing in front of those you care for, and in front of society at large and stating clearly “this is who I am, you are not gonna change me” is an act of bravery. Realizing within yourself that you are not going to stick to what you know but rather follow your own dreams, what you believe is true, requires strong determination.

Now, if you don’t, you are missing out. Missing out on the fun and the true experience of a full life. It may happen at any stage, and it often happens more than once through a lifetime. All experiences are valid. It’s alright.

One does live a much better, fuller life once clarity is found. Simply, because one does not depend any more on what’s around you. And on coming out you realize that a whole new world, and the open hands of many of us, are waiting outside.

Come and join us. It’s bright outside.

My feet pound into the dirt and my lungs burn with the brisk morning air.
The sun begins to peak over the hills causing a golden halo to arise.
My foggy thoughts start to fade away with the darkness as dawn emerges.
The cold air that sprouts flowers in my lungs helps me clear my mind.
These flowers pull oxygen from me giving a euphoric feeling when I reach my destination.
I stand at the edge and look out upon the city slowly waking from its slumber.
High up above the pandemonium of the world, calm washes over me.
Here. I find my clarity.

Suddenly my brain was functioning on an autopilot mode. It was like the words were being written by themselves on the screen. In one single second, the blurry vision of my task had vanished. After days of struggle, I finally found what I was looking for. Then, everything I said, thought or wrote, was coming from something else than my intense and forced reflection, like it had become natural to me, common sense. Sometimes you just need one word, one thought and an idea is striking you. “It’s so evident!” I said to myself. I did not know how I did not see it before; before this sudden clarity…

Clarity gives rise to something new; it’s the sun after the storm. Imagine this particular moment when you are in the eye of a cyclone, you have been tormented before, and now it’s a peaceful relief you are savoring. Clarity leads you on a new path where you don’t need to question yourself anymore or your motivations. When something becomes clear to you all of a sudden, it’s as a new world had opened in your mind. You are looking at the same things you did before, but through another window. One that has been wiped out clean and that gives you new perspectives. Thanks to it you finally identify what was missing: the word you could not remember, the line between the dots, the true meaning of what you were looking at. This is a new state of mind you are finally allowed to reach. What is amazing about it? Clarity gives you the impression that you can personify it. You can meet clarity. And it is a nice encounter.

It usually happens to me when I write. It may come with one word, one expression from an interlocutor or from inside me. That’s what is so surprising about it, you never know what’s going to make it click and appear. For me, knowing is better than uncertainty. Clarity helps me to knock-off the filters that forbid me to get to this knowledge I desperately want, because willpower is not enough. Anyway, what is even more curious is what clarity is not. The balance between the two terms: clarity/uncertainty, it is what this is all about isn’t it? If everything was clear, then you’ll never need to talk about clarity. You need to be confronted by the opposite to really understand the true meaning of something.

I have several things that make me unique besides the combination of my physical characteristics or personality. Espresso puts me to sleep. Blue/green wavelengths give me migraines. I have the ability to see the potential of “what could be” versus “what is” in living creatures.

To illustrate this final example, let me tell you about Frankie, a Great Pyrenees dog. When I met him, he was so badly covered in fleas that the ones that fell off during transport left a black circle around where he laid in my Jeep. Thankfully, I remembered a blanket to lay out. He had small puncture wounds in various spots on his skin. They were easy to find because he had almost no hair. He did have hair on top of his head and down his back. It reminded me of Frankie Avalon for some reason, hence his name. He could barely stand and walking was out of the question because of malnourishment. His back right leg had been injured so he would not put it on the ground at all.

In most cases, this dog would have been put to sleep due to the extent of rehabilitation needed. Fortunately for him, he had these unmistakable eyes. In those eyes, I saw a desire to live, a desire to recover, and the potential to be great.

Of course, I did the months of rehab he needed. Everyone that met him wanted to help when he flashed those hazel eyes surrounded by white eyelashes. The rescue I partnered with received over $500 in donations for surgery on his leg. I took him to a physical therapist for canines three hours away for two sessions and to educate myself on what to do at home. Another couple, who were clients, saw him in a kennel at the facility, paid for him to stay four weeks and get full the rehabilitation he needed. The therapist and her husband (a specialty surgeon in veterinary medicine) performed a second surgery on Frankie’s injured leg for free.

In the end, 11 years later, he is still living with me. He is big and beautiful. Frankie is every bit what he said he would be when he looked at me that day. He often chooses to spend nights outside, positioned in the same part of the yard, barking in a slow spaced rhythm like a sentinel sending a warning to the world not to mess with his family. He dances every morning, spinning around in spite of a leg that still doesn’t work quite right. Everyone that visits wants to see Frankie and ask about him regularly.

Some told me they would have taken him to the animal shelter when they see pictures of when I first got him. Others said they do not know how I could see the potential in him. My question is how could you not?

I have rehabbed several other dogs since then that were eat up by mange, skin diseases, and damaged by severe neglect. In each, I saw the potential to be great and they were. All brought great joy to their owners, family, and friends. I see potential in a lot of people as well. Yet, people are a lot harder to help. Some are not ready to change, some do not want others’ help, and still others simply do not know where to begin.

I liken this to God’s (Allah, Universe, whichever your belief is in…for me it is God) ability to see His potential in us. We take bad jobs and stay too long. We allow fear to hold us back. We beat ourselves up. He sees us trying to cope, using drugs, alcohol, bad relationships, etc. to fulfill us. Yet, with all our shortcomings, with all our failures, pretending not to notice that we are living in our own filth, injured, covered in fleas, with sores and in less of a life than we were created for, he sees our eyes. In them, He sees our desire to live, our desire to recover, and our potential to be great. When we are ready, He is there to help us. He heals our wounds, restores what we are missing, provides for our needs, and brings the right people into our lives to help us through our transformation.

He does not point fingers or blame us for our situation any more than I would blame Frankie for his. He did what he had to, to survive just as we do. And if you do not think God can lead you to a place where you will be rescued, consider one more bit of Frankie’s story. I was notified by the sheriff’s office of Frankie’s general location to pick him up for the rescue or shelter if we chose not to keep him. When I got there, I knew this dog had already been on a long trip. You see, I believe Frankie came from a house several miles down the road known to have Great Pyrenees in poor conditions. Yet, he was found in a ditch, beside the country road, which turned into a dirt road, leading to the barn where my rescue group kept many of our animals waiting to be adopted. He found us. Of course, he had no way to know that we were there or that we would help him, except that he followed God…to his rescue.

I captured this moment yesterday morning, on my way to the bus. It was so early that everything was still quiet, and I marveled at the moon and the colors of the morning sky (the little things that can mean so much) and how clear it all seemed to me: here was a brand new day, with no mistakes in it yet, a new chance, an opportunity to make the most of it. And appreciating this moment of quiet hope made me happy.

There are many moving parts to the world we perceive. And we all perceive them at a different pace. When I’m at home just outside Nashville, the pace of life can get overwhelming. There always seems to be too much work, too little family time, too much traffic, and not enough time that isn’t owed to someone else. That pace can get exhausting. But once a month we spend a weekend up with family in Kentucky, where the same world we live in slows to a digestible pace.

There is time for sipping coffee in the morning and gazing at the horizon from a front porch rocking chair. Time for appreciating the beauty of the natural world. The noise of our phones, TVs and computers fall silent to the sound of The Earth, our Earth. I feel part of this world I’m perceiving and it is when I feel most grateful and at peace.

But the pace of life is not only determined by time and location. It is also determined by age. At the upper end of my 30s, my life moves at a much faster pace than my mother’s. I am a working parent who frequently grocery shops during lunch breaks and runs on about 5 hours sleep. At 75, being a witness to the pace my family maintains is enough to tire my mother. But I’m grateful for the energy, as I recall a time not long ago when my mother had the same vitality. I think of what my life will look like at 75 and I make a conscious effort to be a bit kinder and more forgiving toward my mother.

We all have different stories, but many of us become adults in the same traditions as our parents. We work. We have families. We want to find love and we want love to find us back. We all have a vision of what those things should look like in our life. But what happens when life doesn’t look like you thought or even planned?

This life is not at all what I expected. With age, it seems I’ve let go of the notion that my life is a roadmap with a drawn-out destination. Instead, it’s more of a sketch that is made permanent only in the moment. That sense of realization brings a wave of personal freedom and empowerment.

Sometimes clarity can bring about a change in perception that shifts your entire world for the better. My most vivid moment of clarity occurred in my late 20s. Each one of us has personal struggles no other person will ever fully understand. I had been struggling for two years processing unexpected and overwhelming emotions for a female friend. The noise was not one of outside influence, but a personal discord so loud it endangered my everyday functioning. Until one night in a moment so clear, the noise dissipated into a single action thought. A thought that seemed to speak itself to me. I felt a weight lifted from my chest and I was at peace. That clarity was not something I attained; it was a gift.

It is a gift so elusive that all you can do is create an environment worthy of each unique gift of clarity. I have been fortunate to receive those gifts in the country in Kentucky, during moments with my mother, and in the pause between life with my husband and life with my wife. Being aware of life’s pace and how to control and navigate that pace has helped me to turn off the noise. Or at least mute it for a while to allow room for those gifts of clarity to come.

Clarity isn’t clear cut. It’s not easy to be seen and heard, or to see those around you. It’s not easy to make yourself understood, or to understand others. Not with perfect clarity. Empathy is the key that unlocks clarity. Sadly, we’re not born with empathy. We can’t buy it, borrow it, steal it or take it. It has to be learnt, taught. Yet, it takes a certain clarity, a clear perception and understanding of the world around you, to have empathy. Therein lies the rub. Trickier than a Gordian Knot. Luckily, there’s a simple solution.

Feel.

The more we let ourselves feel, the more we learn to recognize feelings in others. The more we take the time to listen to our feelings, the more we understand what others are going through. The more we understand, the more clarity we have and the more empathetic we become, and so on, ad infinitum.

Sounds stupid, right? Don’t we already feel every day? We feel all sorts of things; happiness, amusement, annoyance, anger, sadness, joy, irritation, fear. Feelings are a product of our environment, the people around us, the location we are in, what we see, what we hear. Hundreds of emotions continuously erupt over and around us, like Mount Vesuvius, on a daily basis. Do we actually listen to our hearts though? Some might scoff at that, argue that emotions aren’t truly felt in the heart, it’s just symbolic. They might say emotions are driven by hormones and chemicals, by complex relays of electrical impulses. They’re probably right. We’re primal creatures at heart. The human brain is a miracle and an enigma. That miracle though, is how you learn to feel with clarity. When you’re nervous? Your palms sweat. When you’re angry? Your fists or jaw clench. When you’re anxious or you feel guilty? That feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut will herald that one.

Our brain and our body are amazing, they know what we’re feeling before we can even begin to think about why we’re feeling it. If you can learn to recognise what your body is telling you, then you can learn to clarify what needs to happen next. An essential skill because, there are no negative emotions. Yes, you read that right. Every emotion we feel has a purpose, even anger. It’s not the purpose of anger to make us lash out verbally, or physically, as many seem to believe. The purpose of anger is to tell us something is wrong. That we are in danger, or we are being treated unfairly, unjustly. The emotion in and of itself is not negative, only how we might act because of it.

People, things, places; they don’t make us feel or do anything. When we can learn to recognise our emotions and the reasons behind them, we can then empathise with ourselves. When we understand our reasons, our needs, we can choose how to react. In doing so, we can learn to recognise the same in others. Understanding leads to familiarity. Familiarity leads to tolerance. Tolerance leads to acceptance.

Clarity and empathy have the power to change the world; all you have to do to start is look inward. It can be challenging. To be non-judgemental. To not make assumptions. To feel, deeply, not just for you but for others, every day.

Challenge accepted…

Clarity to me is when you are able to fully see the world around you. When you are clear and self aware of yourself. I feel that having clarity is like being in paradise because you can be very empowering and be able to influence or make more empowering actions because you are clear in what you want for not just yourself but the world around you. Having clarity allows you to embrace many things as well as set goals and accomplish them.

When I asked myself about what exactly clarity is, one thing that came into my mind was that clarity is a funny, curious thing. It is of course a sense of clearness, but in what sense, I had to take quite a few minutes to think it through. In the process of everyday life, every aspect that makes up who we are is constructed upon our clarity about ourselves and about the things around us. The more sense of clarity we have within us, the more we will learn to value our life by trying to make the wisest decisions for ourselves. We will learn to value the things that transcend materiality: time, our surroundings – people and environment – and the things that we believe in.

Being aware of all these things would guide us in figuring out our purpose in life and the path we should follow to pursue it. By knowing our goals in life clearly, we would have some sort of guidelines in going through our everyday life. We would value our time more – how we spend it with each passing day, whom are we spending our time and surrounding ourselves with. Of course we would want to be surrounded by the people who bring out the best in us, who help us to be the better version of ourselves, those who we care enough about, who make us want to voluntarily bring positive impacts to their lives, out of love. On an even bigger scale, we would want to make use of our time by contributing something, anything, for a good cause or ten that reach into our conscience. Causes that make us feel like we have a responsibility as a resident of this world, this planet, to somehow try to fix it and make it better, to try to contribute in maintaining humanity, or at least to maintain, or maybe even restore people’s faith in it.

But friends, first of all, before we get to all those noble and honorable deeds, we have to get a good grip on the idea and reality of who we are. To preserve both humanity and the planet, we need to start with ourselves. Sure, sometimes it feels easier to just skip to the bigger picture and care about everything else but ourselves. We may not even notice that we were doing it. It sure feels nice to bring positive impact in other people’s lives. It sure feels so good to be able to speak out and stand up for the things that we believe in, to live with the fact that we are contributing something good to humanity. However, the truth is, when I did this kind of things, there was a time when I felt like all these actions were some sort of an attempt to escape from dealing with the real thing – which is myself – and to feel better about myself for being capable to work on bringing the slightest good change in whatever tiniest community in the world that is existent. There were times when I felt like I needed to be significant enough, and to be significant enough, I felt the necessity to go for something that is bigger than me.

However, that’s not all that there is to this whole issue. It is hard to admit and say this out loud, but really, sometimes it is just easier to focus on helping other people than to look into ourselves and see if we need some mending or fixing as well. It is much easier to be kind to other people rather than to be kind to ourselves. The thing is, if we can have a big enough heart to be noble and to care enough to be a hero for other people, for the world even, why can’t we be kind enough to not be so hard on ourselves all the time and to actually care enough about ourselves to embrace all the things that make us, us? Trust me, once we have learned to accept all of our flaws, to embrace ourselves for all that we are – beauty and flaws and everything in between – we will gradually learn to appreciate all the little things in life, all the little things that we find in other people.

Accepting our flaws does not mean that we settle with it. Accepting our flaws means that we know ourselves good enough to be aware of the spots where there is still room for improvements, and to fill those spaces. We need to be able to balance between accepting our flaws while also working to improve them at the same time. And if we are gentle enough with ourselves, we could start to learn to embrace who we are, to acknowledge our good traits that might not always be visible to the eyes, and to finally realize that we are worth it, to know what we deserve and refuse to settle for less. All these little discoveries about ourselves would bring a big impact when it comes to interacting with other people, with new people. We would start to become the kind of people who try to look deeper and to see beyond the things that are palpable. We would not be quick to judge. Instead, we would look for reasoning and backstory of how things turned out the way they are, how people come to be who they are. We would appreciate everyone we meet, we would see that everyone is worth it and we would want them to know it. What is a better quality in the humankind than being a person who is willing to listen, understand, and accept other people? Seeing that it all starts by practicing on being kind to ourselves, what could be a more effective way to change the world than by changing ourselves?

By being kinder to ourselves, we automatically add to the number of kind people in the world. Obviously, but hold on. I never said that the number is singular, that the only person we add to the equation is just ourselves. Friends, people who are kind to themselves would also be kind to other people. And people who receive kindness from others tend to be inspired to also be kind to other people, too. It’s like a domino effect; or take it this way. The versions of us who are kind to ourselves are a drop of color, a good color. Our surroundings are water in a glass. This drop of color drips into the glass of water, infusing the water with its color just like that, just that easy. And so is kindness, my friends. Kindness, just like that drop of color in the glass of water, is influential. It starts with a single little drop of color – it starts with ourselves.

Before we jump and dive in headfirst into the ocean, we need to get a grip on ourselves. We need to make sure that we are ready to become someone who is needed by the people around us. In a world full of noises, we need to start with listening to the voices inside of us, own it, and then maybe other voices around us would start to sound familiar; or even better, we can help people to find their voices. Start small and slow. Start with ourselves. No one is too small to bring a good influence. No one is insignificant. You matter. You are important. You are significant. You are on your way on bringing a good impact to the world. You are on your way on transforming the world into a better place. I am going to need you to listen carefully: you start with you, because you need to be ready for the people you love to need you. You start with you, because you need to be ready for the people whose causes you care about to need you.

All these things written in this article is the sense of clarity that has struck me: to be clear about my purpose in life by first being clear about myself, and let it go from there. I have come to realize that I don’t need to look so far. I just need to start with myself; start small and slow, and enjoy the process. I wish that each and every one of you discovers your own sense of clarity and hold on to it because I believe that what we believe makes us who we are.

From the Republic of Indonesia.
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I find clarity by allowing myself to say no to things, people, and behaviors that are not advancing my wellbeing. This has been such a revelation for me allowing myself to care for myself, too.

Clarity is a unicorn standing over the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—an elusive concept that can feel just beyond reach. Maybe that is because clarity is not one single, simple notion to be grasped. It is a deeply individualized way of making sense of the chaos that surrounds us. Clarity can be a moment when external information meets internal preconceptions and results in perfect understanding, or it can be a state of mind free from distraction, worry, and doubt.

We strive for those moments when everything clicks and we suddenly understand and solve a complex problem. But it can be easy to become frustrated in our search for “eureka!” moments. We must be careful that in our effort to break a problem down to its smallest parts, we don’t zoom in too closely and lose focus.

I have found clarity twice at 120 MPH, once during a skydive free fall and also on a record-setting roller coaster. In those moments all thought was gone and I was in perfect harmony with the universe. And I have found clarity in the first sip of coffee on a chilly morning, in my wife’s loving smile, and in the work I am blessed to do each day.

My work with the C Three Foundation is an exercise in striving for clarity. Clarity is often linked with simplicity, and addiction is anything but simple. Clarity is truthful. But what is clear to one person may not make any sense to another, and that can cause problems.

It is important to use information to achieve clarity, but it is not enough to present facts. Facts must be relatable. We all want to understand and to be understood, and it is frustrating when we can’t seem to be clear with our words, our intentions, and our actions. Harmful alcohol use and addiction have a way of churning the waters of communication into a muddy mess.

Individuals and their families struggle to make sense of what is happening. This can lead to well-intentioned people making it more difficult for their loved ones to get the help they need. What is meant to be helpful can be taken as criticism, cause defensiveness, and build walls instead of bridges.

Clarity may be elusive, but only because we are constantly learning and interacting with the world around us. In this sense, clarity is less of a fixed point and more of a spectrum. As we grow in our understanding, we begin to see things that we may not have noticed before and move from one level of clarity to the next. It is encouraging when a person’s recovery support system begins to see addiction for the chronic, progressive medical issue science says it is. That’s when stigma, shame, and blame begin to lift like a mountain fog under a sunny sky.

Ultimately our understanding of ourselves, our loved ones and the world around us is shaped by our perceptions, and our perceptions are linked to the clarity of our internal narrative. Like light through a prism, we begin to understand our connectedness when we can see the individual differences, including our own, that form something greater.

Clarity
noun
derived from the Latin clarus meaning clear
the quality of being clear; in particular
• the quality of being coherent and intelligible
synonyms: lucidity, clearness, intelligibility
• the quality of being certain or definite

How do I find clarity?

For most people, finding clarity is about taking certain steps to clear your mind. You see all these articles saying ’10 Easy Steps to Gain Clarity’, but for me, finding clarity isn’t about clearing your mind; it isn’t about doing a specific routine.

People tell you that to find clarity you must make your surroundings orderly and uncluttered; you must follow a regular, daily routine; you must get eight hours of sleep a night; you must be free from disturbance.

But I don’t think doing that matters. I find clarity in doing the exact opposite of those.
I find clarity in long drives with music playing loudly; I find it sitting in my bedroom listening to the wind; I find it in a room full of people I love and care about; I find it by staying up late and hearing the sounds of the night; I find it whilst playing an instrument – usually guitar or piano. I find clarity in walking through a forest when there is a sirimiri; I find it in euneirophrenia; I find it in redamancy. I find it in simple acts of love and kindness.
Certain songs, certain sounds help me find clarity. I do not need silence. I do not need a clear mind. I do not need a routine. Doing something on impulse, doing something that I wouldn’t usually do helps me find clarity.

I’m emphasizing the point that silence is not needed. I think that I do this because I’m a musician and I don’t like silence. I also struggle with anxiety and so silence tends to make me uncomfortable. But I think that for everyone, sound is better than silence. I tend to focus on my thoughts, drown in them, during the silence. Whereas, with sound I can let go; I can listen to the noises without hearing them.

I find clarity in a lot of things; a lot of simple things. For me, finding clarity isn’t about taking steps or following a routine, it is about trying things and learning and finding out what makes you happy; finding out what causes the feeling of ataraxia.

I read this word and the first thing that came to my mind is water, the very same liquid that our body needs to survive, and the more transparent that liquid is the more suitable for our body is. The same body that is made-up by more than 70% percent of water, which gives me an idea of how clear and transparent we can be. But most of the times we prefer to darken that clearness hiding behind lies, sometimes to protect ourselves and other ones to protect the ones we love, or at least we believe we are doing that. We feel we have the right to hide the truth from the ones we love just because we think that the truth could hurt them or because they can’t handle it, but is that really our decision to make?

For me, truth is that if we could learn how to speak clearly to the people around us or our leaders try to, our world could be a way better place to live on. Our mouth is the instrument thoughts use through words to express ourselves, which is why we need to be very careful in how we use it. Everything we say could be as powerful to create something beautiful and special or equally powerful to destroy something or someone’s dream.

If we work on ourselves, learning how to express with clarity and brightness all we want to say to others, we may be able to avoid the kind of misunderstandings that lead to the end of a relationship, that fracture the bond we spend so many years creating. Clarity is not to speak irresponsibly hurting others just because we think the way they live is not normal; normal depends on the kind of heart we have and the feelings we keep inside; Clarity is to share with others what we believe is the best way to achieve something, but let them decide if that way works for them, is to express what our brain processes without judging or be compromised by our feelings with a specific situation.

Darkness will be always part of us, is what maintains the balance inside us, and is what lets us choose to be a better person. So we can’t ever forget that darkness remains in us and apply that clarity on it every time it shows up.

Let’s give this world some clarity beginning with ourselves, and little by little everything good will start to replicate in every heart we touch and in every life we change. After all the more positive energy we send to this world is the same amount of negative energy we destroy.

When nothing else makes sense in my world, I know that I can always turn to coding to create a moment of clarity. Coding is my way of escaping the uncertainty of the world, because it either works or it doesn’t; there is no in between. Coding has helped me gain clarity over who I am.

I’m writing this after a one of my long walks alone – something that I do often, but sometimes forget to make time for and the beauty and benefit of them gets lost in the business of everyday life. It has been a busy week. A stressful week. A long, tiresome, series of days that finally came to an end. Yet as I write this, despite the number of items on my to do list, the endless tasks I need to complete, the nagging thoughts that try to dominate my days off – I have found a sense of Clarity.

At this moment in my life a lot of things are uncertain, being in the military leaves the future up in the air often times. Will I live here a year from now? Will someone I’m close to move away? Will I get a new task at work to pile onto my workload? Will I do well on my next test? The questions are endless.

There are so many what-ifs in my life right now, yet somehow, I find Clarity. Not in the future, but in myself and in my mind. These walks alone are my escape. They’re a chance to be alone with myself and my thoughts; sometimes I consciously work through my problems and stress, taking the time to think them through, work out solutions, figure out a game plan. Other times I let them float around in my mind, not paying them any particular sort of attention, just letting them subconsciously be. I take in the scenery, the crisp feeling of fresh air in my lungs, the solidity of the ground beneath my feet. Whichever approach I take, I somehow end with the same result at the end: Clarity.

I don’t have to solve all my problems right now.
I don’t have to accomplish everything on my to-do list this minute.
I don’t have to have a plan for every moment of my future.
I don’t have to stress about what I can’t control.
I don’t need to be something that I’m not.

It’s in these revelations I find my Clarity. I find my sense of peace and am able to re-focus my energy, not on stress, but in taking care of what I can control. Taking care of me.
Life is a series of events we can’t always control. Whether we plan for them or not, they happen. We have to be able to roll with the punches, keep our head up when our hearts are heavy, and find Clarity despite the uncertainty.

It’s up to everyone to find that one thing that gives you a chance to just be. Whether it’s a walk, or art, or music, or whatever. Find what lets your mind expand, lets your thoughts formulate and dissipate all at once. Find what gives you a moment of Clarity and cling to it, turn to it when the world is uncertain, turn inwards and listen to yourself when life has you questioning. Find your Clarity.

I find #Clarity in this noisy world in helping as many people as I can in everyday I live on this earth.

The world is too loud and I am not sure how much more I can take.

But I will keep going. I will keep fighting for people. I find #Clarity in the laughter of friends who love me for who I truly am. Who did not flinch or break their smile when I told them I was gay. I find #Clarity in the moments I read about people loving people. People standing up for others. People holding on to a hope that does still exist. Whether you are religious or not, there is something that drives this world and he/she/it gives us a new chance for hope every morning that we wake up and take a breath.

#Clarity comes in the moments of truth. If everyone was just a little nicer to others, maybe the world could become a better place. This is a truth I believe in. This is the #Clarity that dulls the noise and gives me the chance to catch my breath and smile.

This is my #Clarity. My name is Court and I believe that our hearts can become lighter and braver if we just have hope.


Continue the Discussion

For educators and coffee talk clubs, use this teaching guide to continue the discussion. Make sure you tag us on your posts (Twitter @charity_pulse and Instagram @charitypulse) with the hashtag #CauseForClarity. We’d love to see your clarity in action.

  • In a world of chaos how do you find clarity?
  • Sometimes one can find clarity in the most unlikely of places, share an example when this happened to you?
  • Which selection from this collection made you think further about clarity? Why?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Charity Pulse or its affiliates.

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